(UPDATE) Columbus Blue Jackets Goalie Matiss Kivlenieks Dies After Suffering Injuries From Fireworks Accident

Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Matiss Kivlenieks has passed away at the age of 24. The team says he died as a result of a tragic fall resulting in a head injury.

Matiss Kivlenieks

Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHL via Getty Images

Matiss Kivlenieks

UPDATED 07/5/21 3:30 p.m. ET: Despite previous reports from authorities citing a head injury in the death of Matiss Kivlenieks, a Michigan medical examiner has corrected that the 24-year-old fatally succumbed to chest trauma from a fireworks mortar blast, ESPN reports.

See original story below. 

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks died Sunday at the age of 24.

The team confirmed Kivlenieks died as the result of a “tragic accident,” suffering an apparent head injury in a fall.

“We are shocked and saddened by the loss of Matiss Kivlenieks, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his mother, Astrida, his family and friends during this devastating time,” Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson said in a statement. “Kivi was an outstanding young man who greeted every day and everyone with a smile and the impact he had during his four years with our organization will not be forgotten.”

#CBJ statement on Kivlenieks’ passing pic.twitter.com/iig3UU7Iwk

— Alison (@AlisonL) July 5, 2021

The Associated Pressreports Kivlenieks died after hitting his head following a Fourth of July fireworks accident.

Lt. Jason Meier of the Novi Police Department said a mortar-style firework tilted slightly and started to fire toward people nearby. Kivlenieks was in a hot tub and fled along with several other people, but he slipped and hit his head on concrete, Meier said.

The fire department and EMTs got to the private home about 10:13 on Sunday night and took him to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Meier said. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

“At the moment, we’re pretty certain this was a tragic accident,” Meier said.

While the Blue Jackets confirmed Monday that Kivlenieks’ death resulted from an apparent head injury in a fall, the team statement made no mention of fireworks.

Kivlenieks, who had recently competed for his native country Latvia at the IIHF World Championships, started in two games for Columbus this NHL season. The undrafted netminder had six NHL starts and eight appearances to his name dating back to 2019-20. He was expected to compete for more playing time next season.

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