Gino Odjick, a favorite of Canucks fans, has died at the age of 52

Former Vancouver Canucks forward and fan favorite Gino Odjick has died at the age of 52.

The team and his sister Dina confirmed the death on Sunday.

“Our hearts are broken. My brother Gino Odjick left us and went to the spirit world,” she wrote on Facebook.

Odjick played from 1990 to 2002 in the NHL, including eight years in Vancouver and two in Montreal.

He also played for the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers, recording 64 goals, 73 assists and 2,567 penalty minutes in 605 regular season games.

Odjick played 44 playoff games with Vancouver and Montreal, scoring four goals and an assist, often eliciting chants of “Gino, Gino” from fans who appreciated his fierce style of play.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Larry Murphy (55) checks Vancouver Canucks Mike Sillinger (26) on the ice as Canucks Gino Odjick, left, is involved in this 1996 file photo. (Canadian Press)

“Gino has been a fan favorite from the moment he joined the organization, putting his heart and soul into every change on and off the ice,” said Francesco Aquilini, team president and governor.

Odjick was a key member of the 1994 Canucks, who lost the Stanley Cup in Game 7 of the Finals against the New York Rangers.

The 2,127 penalty minutes he accumulated as a Canuck is the most in franchise history.

Odjick, of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation near Maniwaki, Que., announced nine years ago that he was suffering from a rare terminal disease affecting his heart, AL (primary) amyloidosis. Doctors said he only had a few weeks left to live.

He then wrote an open letter to his fans, thanking them for their support throughout his career.

“Your ‘Gino, Gino’ cheers were my favorite. I wish I could hear them again. You were amazing,” he wrote.

Los Angeles Kings Barry Potomaki, left, and Vancouver Canucks Gino Odjick fight during the first period of NHL action in Vancouver, March 25, 1996. Both received five-minute penalties. (Chuck Stoody/The Canadian Press)

He also specifically referred to his indigenous heritage.

“It also means a lot to me that my hockey career gave me the opportunity to open doors for children [the] Aboriginal community. I was just a little Indian from Rez. If I could do it, so could they.”

Odjick eventually recovered from his illness after returning to the Ottawa area where doctors began an experimental treatment.

Odjick, center, poses with Canucks teammates in April 2016. (Halaw Group/Twitter)

On Sunday, many people posted messages and condolences on social media saying Odjick was a special player and person who gave back to the communities in which he lived.

Odjic was selected by the Canucks in the fifth round, 86th overall, of the 1990 NHL draft.

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