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Mark Pavelich, Miracle on Ice 1980 Olympic Hockey Team Member, Found Dead at 63

·3-min read

Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images

Mark Pavelich, a member of the "Miracle on Ice" 1980 Olympic hockey team, has died at age 63.

USA Hockey confirmed the news on Friday, saying that the former player will "forever a part of hockey history."

Pavelich was found dead on Thursday a central Minnesota residential treatment center, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which was the first to report on his death.

Authorities told the newspaper that they were called to at Eagle's Healing Nest treatment facility in Sauk Centre, Minn., around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday for reports of a death.

Responding personnel discovered that Pavelich had not been seen since the night prior and appeared to have been dead for a few hours. No cause of death has been determined, the Star Tribune reports.

When reached by PEOPLE, the Sauk Centre Police Department declined to comment and deferred to the Midwest County Medical Examiner's Office. The medical examiner's office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

RELATED: 'Miracle on Ice' Hockey Star Mark Pavelich Committed to Treatment Facility by Minnesota Judge

The former Olympian had been receiving mental health treatment at Eagle's Healing Nest for several months under a court order after he was unable to stand trial for allegedly assaulting his neighbor in 2019, the paper says.

Pavelich was charged with beating his neighbor in August 2019. He faced four felony counts for the assault, which left his neighbor with multiple broken bones, the Star Tribune states.

In December 2019, a judge ruled that Pavelich was not fit to stand trial. Clinical psychologists diagnosed Pavelich with post-traumatic stress disorder as well as other conditions, and determined he "lacked insight into his mental illness and was opposing treatment," according to the Star Tribune.

Pavelich's family said they believe he also suffered from CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, due to repeated concussions from his time playing hockey, the paper reports.

Cook County Jail

RELATED: Miracle on Ice Hockey Player Mark Pavelich Charged with Attacking Neighbor with a Pipe

The local newspaper added that he had previously been at a more restrictive facility, but was recently transferred after showing some progress in treatment.

"We are shocked and saddened by the passing of Mark Pavelich," his lawyer, Carolyn Agin Bruno, said in a statement to PEOPLE. "Our firm is heartbroken that we have lost our friend and legend."

She added: "Recently Mark was filled with hope and renewal for the future. He had been thriving at the new facility since leaving St. Peter. Mark was dedicated to his recovery and had made great progress. Mark's legal matters were moving in a positive direction."

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Pavelich is the second 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey player to die, after Bob Suter in 2014 at age 57. The team's coach, Herb Brooks, died in 2003, according to NBC Sports.

If you or someone you know need mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.