USA Hockey Legend Mark Pavelich Dies at 63 — Cause of Death Revealed

Joe Akins
Apr 07, 2021
10:40 A.M.
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Following the death of Team USA hockey legend Mark Pavelich at age 63, official reports have ruled his death as a suicide following years of battling mental health-related issues.


The death of legendary hockey star Mark Pavelich has been ruled a suicide, according to reports. Pavelich, who was part of the "Miracle on Ice" team, died last month, March 4.

The 63-year-old was reported to have died at the Eagle's Healing Nest in Minnesota, where he has been taking a court-ordered treatment as part of a 2019 assault case.

Mark Pavelich, hockey. Star Tribune staff photo October 3, 1987 | Photo: Getty Images


He was charged for assaulting his neighbor, who he thought had spiked his drink. A judge ruled that he was unfit to stand trial due to his mental health.

After a month of investigation, the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office revealed via a statement that the hockey legend had died of asphyxiation. The manner of death was ruled as suicide.


In recent years, Pavelich had been facing challenges in his mental health and was once diagnosed with PTSD. Different psychologists noted that his mental health caused him to be dangerous.

For most of his teammates, Pavelich remains one of the biggest talents the game has seen. 


Some psychologists believed that his condition might have been caused by the various hits and injuries on his head. His family believes that his hockey days contributed to his mental decline.

Pavelich reportedly became a household name after his tournament saving assist that brought the winning goal against Russia in the 1980 Olympics.


His USA team went on to win the gold medal. Pavelich sold his gold medal for more than $250,000 in 2014. His contribution remains a golden memory in the history of the country's hockey.

Before retiring in 1992, the late 63-year-old spent five seasons playing for the NY Rangers before a series of short stints with the Minnesota North Stars and San Jose Sharks.

His family hopes that his story would go on to inspire other athletes and raise awareness so that more stars can take caution. For most of his teammates, Pavelich remains one of the biggest talents hockey has seen. 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at