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'Miracle on Ice' star Mark Pavelich died by suicide

The 63-year-old was found dead at a Sauk Centre treatment center on March 4.

Mark Pavelich, a member of the "Miracle on Ice" Olympic winning hockey team, died in March by suicide.

The Anoka County Medical Examiner confirmed the 63-year-old's cause of death on Monday, saying he died of asphyxia in a manner consistent with suicide.

The Stearns County Sheriff's Office had confirmed that Pavelich was found dead at the Eagles Healing Nest in Sauk Centre on March 4, with police called to a report of a death at the facility at 8:35 a.m.

Pavelich had been civilly committed to receive psychiatric care after a judge ruled he was unfit to stand trial for the alleged assault of his neighbor with a metal rod in Lutsen in August 2019.

The judge said that Pavelich "lacks the ability to rationally consult with counsel, is incapable of understanding the proceedings, and is incapable of participating in the defense due to mental illness or deficiency."

Pavelich was a hockey standout at Eveleth High School before becoming an All-American forward with the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. After his success in the Olympics he went on to score 137 goals during an NHL career with the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars and San Jose Sharks. 

His sister had previously said the family was convinced Pavelich suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, more commonly known as CTE, the neurodegenerative brain disease caused by repeated head injuries.

Anyone dealing with a suicidal crisis or emotional distress can always contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255. The lifeline is available 24/7/365. 

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