Toronto Maple Leafs legend Börje Salming dies at 71

Toronto Maple Leafs legend Börje Salming has died. He was 71.

The team released a statement announcing the death on behalf of the Salming family on Thursday, saying he was a “pioneer of the game and an icon with an unbreakable spirit and unquestioned toughness.”

Salming announced in August he had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

“I have received news that has shaken my family and me,” he said at the time. “The signs that indicated that something was wrong in my body turned out to be the disease ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.”

Salming, who played 16 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1973 to 1989 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996, said he recognized there is currently no cure for ALS.

“In an instant, everything changed. I do not know how the days ahead will be, but I understand that there will be challenges greater than anything I have ever faced.”

ALS is a progressive nervous system disease that leads to paralysis, the inability to swallow, respiratory failure and finally death.

This is a breaking news story. More to come…

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