NEW YORK (AP) — New York Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard was found dead Friday in his Minneapolis apartment. He was 28.
The team announced Boogaard's death on Friday night, but gave no details.
The Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis first reported Boogaard was found dead in his home by members of his family. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office in Minnesota confirmed those details and said an autopsy was pending.
"Derek was an extremely kind and caring individual," Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather said. "He was a very thoughtful person, who will be dearly missed by all those who knew him. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and teammates during this difficult time."
Boogaard signed a four-year, $6.5 million deal with Rangers in July and appeared in 22 games with them last season. He had a goal and an assist to go with 45 penalty minutes.
One of the most feared fighters in the league, Boogaard missed the last 52 games of the regular season with a concussion and shoulder injury and did not play in the playoffs.
Boogaard began his NHL career with Minnesota and appeared in 255 games with the Wild from 2005-10.
"The Minnesota Wild organization sends our deepest sympathies to the family of Derek Boogaard," team said in a statement. "Derek was a fan favorite during his five seasons with the Wild and will be greatly missed here in Minnesota and throughout the NHL. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Boogaard family during this tragic time of loss."
In 277 regular-season games with Minnesota and the Rangers over six seasons, he had three goals and 13 assists and 589 penalty minutes.
The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native was Minnesota's seventh-round choice, 202nd overall, in the 2001 draft.