Funeral details announced for Wade Belak
Published Thursday, September 1, 2011 10:35PM EDT
The wife of former Toronto Maple Leaf Wade Belak has broken her silence.
In her first public comments since Belak was found dead in a downtown Toronto condominium and hotel Wednesday, Jennifer Belak urged everyone to remember the way her husband lived his life.
"Wade was a big man with an even bigger heart. He was a deeply devoted father and husband, a loyal friend and a well respected athlete," she said in a statement released Thursday night. "This loss leaves a huge hole in our lives and, as we move forward, we ask that everyone remember Wade’s infectious sense of humor, his caring spirit and the joy he brought to his friends, family and fans."
Belak's body was discovered Wednesday afternoon at 1 King West, a downtown hotel and condominium building.
He was 35 years old.
Police say they don't suspect foul play.
A private funeral will be held Sunday afternoon in Nashville, where he was to work as a hockey broadcaster this season.
Earlier on Thursday Belak's father reflected on his son's life.
"I think the Wade Belak that people in Toronto saw off the ice was the way we knew [him] his whole life," Lionel Aadland told CP24.
Over a 14-year career, Belak played with five different National Hockey League teams as an enforcer, including a seven-year stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He loved his time in Toronto and enjoyed being a fan favourite, Aadland said.
Aadland said that the Belak known to Torontonians – a friendly and outgoing person with a great sense of humour - was the person his family remembers.
Aadland said that Belak's younger brother is currently in Toronto speaking with police about the circumstances of his brother's death.
The family is currently making plans to travel to Nashville where Belak lived with his wife and two young daughters. Funeral arrangements have yet to be made, Aadland said. The athlete's mother and stepfather are already in Nashville in he said.
Aadland said Belak's wife was shaken by the news.
"She is having a good deal of difficulty dealing with this, as we all are," he said. "We will be down there as soon as we can to support her any way we can."