The Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Rodion Amirov in the first round in the 2020 draft. The 21-year-old was later diagnosed with a brain tumor.
On Monday, Amirov’s agent Dan Milstein confirmed the young athlete’s death.
“From the moment he received the news, he refused to speak in the negative, determined to enjoy every day, facing it with the same positive attitude he showed during his hockey career,” Milstein said in a statement. “We will always remember his courage, his desire, his will, his smile, all of the great things about him.”
According to Milstein, Amirov learned of his tumor diagnosis two years ago. The Maple Leafs revealed his condition in February 2022.
Amirov inked an entry-level contract with the Maple Leafs in April 2021. He later became a member of the Maple Leafs’ taxi squad following his stint in the Kontinental Hockey League with Salavet Yulaev Ufa. In his 39 game prior to his 20th birthday, Amirov scored nine goals.
He eventually returned to Russia for another campaign, but he suffered an injury prior to the start of the KHL season. Amirov was healthy enough to return to the lineup in September, but he suffered another injury.
When the Maple Leafs announced Amirov’s diagnosis, the team noted that he was injured at some point during the 2021-22 season when he was played in the KHL.
As he rehabbed from the injury he began to experience “new, unrelated symptoms that required ongoing extensive investigations over the last few months.”
Amirov finished that KHL season with 10 appearances before he went ot Germany to undergo treatment at a medical facility.
Milstein credited Amirov’s doctors, his former KHL team the Salavat Yulaev Ufa, and the Maple Leafs organization for the help they provided to following his diagnosis. He also thanked fans who shared messages of support.
Maple Leafs president and alternate governor Brendan Shanahan issued a statement shortly after learning of Amirov’s untimely passing.
“The entire Maple Leafs organization is devastated by this tragic loss,” Shanahan said. “Over the duration of his courageous battle, Rodion’s positivity inspired everyone around him, and he made lasting impressions with our team and our fans in his brief visits to Toronto.
“It’s incredibly sad to see a young man with so much promise taken from us so soon. We offer our deepest condolences to Rodion’s family and friends as we mourn this loss together.”