Gino Odjick was a fighter. It’s what endeared him to Vancouver Canucks fans from 1990-98, when he amassed as much as 371 penalty minutes in a season.
Gino Odjick has continued to fight. Two months ago, he was diagnosed with a rare terminal disease called AL amyloidosis, one that causes protein deposits to form around and harden his heart.
According to his doctors, his prognosis was initially that he had years to live; now, it’s down to weeks.
Odjick revealed this stunning news via a letter to fans that was posted on the Canucks web site on Thursday:
I began fighting this disease a few days after Pat Quinn’s ring of honour night. I went to the hospital because I was short of breath and 48 hours later I received the news. I’ve been in the hospital under the supervision of some great doctors ever since. I also have the support of my kids, my sisters, my family and some great friends.
I’m telling you about this now because news is beginning to leak out and I wanted you to hear it from me. I also want you to know that my spirit is strong even if my body isn't. I'm going to use all of my time to be with my kids and everyone I love.
I feel very fortunate for my life. During my career I played in some great NHL cities including, Vancouver, Long Island, Philadelphia and Montreal. In my heart, I will always be a Canuck and I have always had a special relationship here with the fans. Your "Gino, Gino" cheers were my favourite. I wish I could hear them again. You have been amazing.
Odjick is 43, and settled in Vancouver after his playing career was over with the Montreal Canadiens in 2002.
He closed his letter by saying, “This isn't goodbye, but I wanted you to know what is happening. I'm going to stay strong and I hope to spend as much time with my kids as possible.”