Toronto Maple Leafs great Borje Salming is battling ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.
The team issued a statement from the Hall of Fame defenseman on Wednesday.
"I have received news that has shaken my family and me. The signs that indicated that something was wrong in my body turned out to be the disease ALS," said Salming, 71. "In an instant, everything changed. I do not know how the days ahead will be, but I understand that there will be challenges greater than anything I have ever faced.
"I also recognize that there is no cure but there are numerous worldwide trials going on and there will be a cure one day. In the meantime, there are treatments available to slow the progression and my family and I will remain positive."
The Swedish-born Salming played 16 seasons for the Maple Leafs (1973-89) and one with the Detroit Red Wings (1989-90). The six-time All-Star and two-time Norris Trophy runner-up tallied 787 points (150 goals, 637 assists) and 1,344 penalty minutes in 1,148 games. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.
Salming is seeking privacy for himself and his family.
"I understand that there are many of you that would like to reach out, however I kindly ask you to respect our privacy in these trying times," he said. "Please keep us in your prayers. When the time is right and I understand more about my condition and future journey, I will reach out. So, until such a time, we kindly refrain from all contact. I hope you understand and respect our decision."
--Field Level Media