Rodion Amirov, the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ first-round pick in 2020, has died, according to an announcement from the team. He was just 21 years old.
“The entire Maple Leafs organization is devastated by this tragic loss,” Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a statement. “Over the duration of his courageous battle, Rodion’s positivity inspired everyone around him, and he made lasting impressions with our team and fans in his brief visits to Toronto.
“It’s incredibly sad to see a young man with so much promise taken from us so soon. We offer our deepest condolences to Rodion’s family and friends as we mourn this loss together.”
In February 2022, the Maple Leafs announced that Amirov had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. The tumor was discovered when Russian forward was having another injury examined.
Amirov didn’t play for the remainder of the 2021-22 season with Salavat Yulaev in the KHL.
“From the moment he received the news, he refused to speak in the negative, determined to enjoy every day, facing it with the same positive attitude he showed during his hockey career,” Amirov’s agent, Dan Milstein, wrote on Twitter. “We will always remember his courage, his desire, his will, his smile, all of the great things about him.”
Amirov arrived in Toronto to participate in the Maple Leafs’ training camp prior to the beginning of the 2022-23 season, and he eventually returned to his native Russia last November.
Amirov was originally selected by the Maple Leafs with the No. 15 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. In 2021, Amirov signed a three-year entry level contract with the Maple Leafs after he led Russia in scoring at the World Junior Championship that same year.
The former first-round pick signed a one-year contract extension with Salavat Yulaev for the 2023-24 season, and he was set to be on loan from the Maple Leafs.