Autopsy: NHL’s Matiss Kivlenieks Died from Fireworks Blast to Chest

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

A medical examiner in Michigan has announced that an autopsy has found that Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks died after receiving trauma to the chest from a firework explosion and not a fall as previously reported.

As reported by ESPN, the initial autopsy “determined Kivlenieks died from a percussive injury caused by the powerful blast from the fireworks, which triggered major damage to his heart and lungs, according to police.”

The firework was tilted and began emitting explosions towards people Sunday night and Kivlenieks, 24-years-old, leapt from the hot tub amid the accident, according to Lt. Jason Meier.

“There was some minor injury to his exterior, which would lead us to believe that some portion of the firework made contact with him, but we’re not really sure if it was a direct hit or whether the percussion from the explosion caused his injuries,” Meier said, as reported by the Detroit News.

Meier also stated the fire department and EMTs arrived at a private home at 10:13 p.m. local time Sunday night. Kivlenieks was soon after taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“At the moment, we’re pretty certain this was a tragic accident,” Meier said.

Following the news of Kivlenieks’ death, Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson released a statement praising “Kivi” for his “smile and the impact he had” during his tenure with the Blue Jackets.

“We are shocked and saddened by the loss of Matiss Kivlenieks, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his mother, Astrida, his family and friends during this devastating time,” Davidson said. “Kivi was an outstanding young man who greeted every day and everyone with a smile and the impact he had during his four years with our organization will not be forgotten.”

Kivlenieks was honored Monday night during a moment of silence prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens.

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