Courtesy: US Presswire
French Connection at HSBC Arena 2/23/11
The scene of the crash that killed Sabres great Rick Martin.
BUFFALO, NY -The Buffalo Sabres announced Monday a public memorial will take place on Thursday March 24th at HSBC Arena for the beloved member of the "French Connection" who died over the weekend.
The 11 AM service will celebrated the life of the Sabre Hall of Famer. Further details of the event will be announced by the team later this week.
The team also announced anyone wishing to make a donation in Rick's memory to Compass House, 1451 Main Street, Buffalo, 14209.
Autopsy results released Monday show that Martin died from Hypertensive Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease, a serious form of heart disease. A source close to Martin told 2 On Your Side's Adam Benigni that he died of a heart attack while he was driving.
Eyewitnesses say Martin's car crossed a lane of traffic and hit a pole on Main Street and Salt Road in Clarence around noon Sunday.
"Eyewitnesses stated that when Mr. Martin's vehicle began to drift out of the westbound lane, crossing eastbound into the shoulder he was seen with his head slumped, and possibly his eyes closed previous to impact," said Nigrelli.
State police responded to the scene and CPR was given to Martin until emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene. He was pronounced dead at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital at 12:48pm. He was 59-years old.
"Any time you deal with death it's terrible, but when someone so close to home, someone that we all know on a personal basis...someone who's an icon in our community...when they pass away, it's doubly difficult for first responders and our community," said New York State Police Captain Steven A. Nigrelli.
Martin and his "French Connection" linemates Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert are some of the most famous Sabres of all time. The trio recently appeared with new Sabres owner Terry Pegula on ice for a reunion at HSBC Arena just days after Pegula took ownership of the organization.
Martin played in 10 NHL seasons with the Buffalo Sabres from 1971 - 1981.
Sabres fans like Jim Gsell shared with us their feels of Martin's sudden death.
"It ranks up there with losing a local icons like Tim Horton, and it's heartbreaking. It's absolutely heartbreaking."
The Buffalo Sabres Released a statement on Sunday afternoon:
The Buffalo Sabres are saddened to announce the passing of Buffalo Sabres Hall of Famer and member of the famed French Connection, Rick Martin. Rick was not only one of the greatest players in franchise history, he was a great friend to the Sabres organization and the entire community. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Sabres organization go out to his wife Mikey and their two sons, Corey and Josh.