Konstantin Koltsov’s death ruled apparent suicide by police

MIAMI — The death of Konstantin Koltsov, the Belarusian former pro hockey player and boyfriend of professional tennis player Aryna Sabalenka, has been ruled an apparent suicide, the Miami-Dade Police Department said Tuesday. Koltsov was 42.

Police said in a statement sent to Reuters that Bal Harbour Police and Fire Rescue had responded to a call at 12:39 a.m. Monday at St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort about reports of a man jumping off a balcony.

“No foul play is suspected,” the Miami-Dade Police Department said in a statement, adding that the homicide bureau has taken over the investigation.

Koltsov was a forward with the Belarus national team in the 2002 and 2010 Olympics and played 144 games over parts of three seasons with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins from 2002 and 2006. The 1999 first-round draft pick had 12 goals and 26 assists with the Penguins.

His death was confirmed by Russian club Salavat Yulaev Ufa, where he was an assistant coach for the past two seasons. He also was an assistant on staff for the men’s national team.

“Konstantin was one of the undisputable leaders of our team, a talented progressive coach, a bright player,” national team coach Dmitry Baskov said in a statement. “He was an example of sturdiness, hard work, dedication and an idol for many Belarusian boys and his colleagues. It’s hard and unfair when such people leave so early.”

Koltsov played most of his career in the Russian Superleague, which morphed into the KHL, finishing with Dynamo Minsk in 2015-16 and going into coaching. Koltsov won a Gagarin Cup championship with Salavat Yulaev Ufa as a player in 2010-11.

“He was a strong and cheerful person, he was loved and respected by players, colleagues, and fans,” the team said in a statement. “[Koltsov] forever wrote himself into the history of our club.”

Sabalenka, the world’s No. 2 women’s tennis player and Australian Open champion, is in Miami for the Miami Open — a women’s WTA event. According to media reports, she is not withdrawing from the event, which begins Tuesday.

Messages sent to Sabalenka’s publicist and tournament officials seeking comment were not immediately returned to The Associated Press.

Sabalenka was practicing Tuesday while wearing all black. She has a first-round bye and is scheduled to play either Romanian wild card Simona Halep, who is returning from a doping ban, or Spain’s Paula Badosa on Friday.

There will be no news conferences following her matches.

Reuters, The Associated Press and ESPN’s D’Arcy Maine contributed to this report.

First appeared on www.espn.com

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