Montreal Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur has died at the age of 70.
His family confirmed the news to Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette on Friday. He was diagnosed with lung cancer for the second time in 2020.
The Canadiens posted condolences on Twitter:
Lafleur was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 after a career that included five Stanley Cup titles and winning the Hart Trophy twice as the NHL MVP.
The Quebec native was selected by the Habs with the first overall pick in the 1971 NHL draft. He'd dominated the QMJHL with the Quebec Remparts, scoring 130 goals in 1970-71 to set a record that would stand until Mario Lemieux tallied 133 in 1983-84.
Lafleur emerged as one of hockey's most dynamic offensive talents and recorded over 100 points in six straight seasons beginning in 1974-75. He captured the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leader in points three consecutive years from 1975-76 through 1977-78.
House of Bucci Mane @Buccigross
Guy Lafleur..A skating Louis Vuitton commercial who stylishly flew on the ice and murdered pucks. Ferrari winger that attracted all eyes during his shifts..Was 1970’s Habs rocket fuel (5 Cups). In ‘78-‘79 he led team in scoring by 52 points. #1 NHL player in 2nd half of 1970’s. <a href="https://t.co/RMQ5mz2Hlf">pic.twitter.com/RMQ5mz2Hlf</a>
The winger retired from the NHL in 1985 amid a contentious relationship with Canadiens management, but he returned in 1988. He played one season with the New York Rangers and two with the Quebec Nordiques to finish his career.
In 2019, Lafleur was undergoing heart surgery when doctors discovered a cancerous spot on his lung. He had another surgery two months later to remove a portion of his lung and his lymph nodes, but the cancer returned in October 2020.
He discussed the treatment with Joshua Clipperton of the Canadian Press in November.
"It's the chemotherapy that really hurts you badly," Lafleur said. "There's not a week that's the same. The last two weeks, I was feeling very, very bad and sleeping a lot. But the last three days I feel a lot better—a lot of ups and downs."
While going through treatment, he worked with Merck Canada to launch the "Be The MVP" campaign aimed at raising awareness for early detection of lung cancer.
"The Flower," who helped the Habs win Stanley Cup championships in 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979, was named one of the 100 greatest players in NHL history as part of the league's centennial celebration in 2017.