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Ex-Blackhawks enforcer Bob Probert dies at age 45
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

Bob Probert, left, gets into a scuffle with the Blue Jackets Jody Shelley in 2001.

 

Daily Herald file photo

Bob Probert, left, and Darren Langdon

 

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Published: 7/5/2010 4:25 PM | Updated: 7/5/2010 6:08 PM

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Former Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings enforcer Bob Probert died Monday of an apparent heart attack at age 45.

One of the toughest players and best fighters in NHL history, Probert played for the Hawks from 1995-2002 after spending his best seasons with Detroit.

Probert, who battled substance abuse and alcohol problems early in his career with the Red Wings, played 461 games for the Hawks, collecting 49 goals, 125 points and 1,210 penalty minutes.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Probert family during this difficult time," Hawks president John McDonough said in a statement. "Bob will always be a member of the Blackhawks family and his memory will live on through our fans."

Probert was rushed to hospital with no vital signs absent after collapsing on a boat on Lake St. Clair in Windsor, Ontario, on Monday while with his family.

Probert's father in law, Dan Parkinson, said at a news conference Monday that Probert had complained about "severe chest pain" around 2 p.m. before collapsing.

"This is a tragedy for the family," Parkinson said. "We ask that you respect their privacy at this time. This was totally unexpected. Bob lost the fight of his life this afternoon."

Probert, a Windsor native, scored 163 goals and added 221 assists and 3,300 penalty minutes in 935 career NHL games over 17 seasons.

"It's very sad, very, very sad," Red Wings vice president Jim Devellano told the Detroit Free Press. "He was a pretty popular player in Detroit in the '80s, and certainly one tough guy with a lot of ability. But unfortunately we never got 100% out of him because of his off ice problems."

Probert is survived by his wife and four children.