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Former NHL enforcer Probert, 45, dies

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Former NHL enforcer Bob Probert died Monday.

bob probert fights

The fighter

Bob Probert was known as a great enforcer during his tenure in the NHL. See why.

Family friend Rich Rogow says Probert, 45, was on a boat in Lake St. Clair with his wife, children and in-laws when he "developed severe chest pains" Monday.

Rogow said Probert, one of the most feared pugilists in the history of the sport, was rushed to Ontario's Windsor Regional Medical Center, where he died. Rogow spoke at an evening news conference at the medical center.

"Bob lost the fight of his life this afternoon," Probert's father-in-law, Dan Parkinson told FOX Sports Detroit. Parkinson, a police officer, performed CPR before Probert was rushed to the medical center. "This is a tragedy for the family and totally unexpected."

"We have lost one of the toughest players, best power forwards and all-around great guys who ever wore the Winged Wheel," said former teammate Joe Kocur. "My favorite memory of Bob would be sitting down before a game, going over the opposing lineup and picking and choosing who would go first and if the goalie would be safe or not. It was great to be able to go out on the ice knowing that he had my back and I had his.

"He was like the brother I never had. My prayers go out to his family.”

bob probert death

Bob Probert 1965-2010

Long-time Detroit News writer Mike O'Hara remembers Bob Probert. For complete coverage visit FOX Sports Detroit.

Probert, who played for Detroit from 1985 to '94 and for Chicago from 1995 to 2002, held the Red Wings record for career penalty minutes with 2,090 and is sixth on the NHL's career list in penalty minutes with 3,300.

The Windsor native had 384 points (163 goals, 221 assists) in 935 career regular-season games.

"Bob was a guy that started as a strictly tough guy but made himself a player,'' former Toronto maple Leafs enforcer Wendel Clark told Canadian Press. "Off the ice, everything was a whole different story. He was one of the good guys and he'd do anything for anybody.''

Probert was drafted 46th overall by the Red Wings in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft.

“Bob was a part of our very first NHL draft class that also included Steve Yzerman, Joe Kocur, Petr Klima and Stu Grimson," Red Wings owners Mike and Marian Ilitch said in a statement. "Bob was always there for his teammates and was one of the toughest men to ever play in the NHL. He also was one of the kindest, most colorful, and beloved players Detroit has ever known."

Blackhawks president John McDonough said the organziation's "thoughts and prayers are with the entire Probert family.''

"Bob will always be a member of the Blackhawks family and his memory will live on through our fans,'' McDonough said in a statement.

"Bob Probert was one of the most competitive individuals I've ever known," said Mickey Redmond, FOX Sports Detroit Red Wings analyst and former player. "He was a rare breed that could be a top enforcer as well as a player who could finish with the best of them.
"The Red Wings have lost a beloved family member. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Probert was charged several times with driving under the influence while playing for Detroit. He also was caught trying to carry cocaine from Canada into the U.S. in 1989 and served a six-month federal prison sentence.

The Blackhawks honored Probert with a Bob Probert Heritage Night on Feb. 22, 2009, at the United Center, and he dropped the ceremonial puck before Game 3 of the 2009 Western Conference Final between Detroit and Chicago.

No funeral arrangements were immediately made. Probert is survived by his wife and four children.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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