Capitals star Alex Ovechkin announces father's death, remains on leave from team

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin says his father, Mikhail, has died at age 71.

71-year-old Mikhail had been dealing with health issues in recent years

A hockey player kisses his mother during a ceremony at centre ice.
Mikhail Ovechkin, stands as his wife receives a kiss from their son, Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, during a ceremony in 2016. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin says his father, Mikhail, has died at age 71.

Ovechkin delivered the news Wednesday on social media along with family photos and video.

"Today my father passed away," Ovechkin posted in Russian on his Instagram account. "I thank everyone for their support but ask that you be understanding and not disturb my family at such a hard time for us! Thank you."

Ovechkin left the Capitals on Tuesday to tend to what the team called a family health matter regarding a loved one. Coach Peter Laviolette said he expected Ovechkin to be gone for at least the rest of the week and away for the foreseeable future.

"Life is tough," Laviolette said. "When it comes to your family and parents, that's what matters. He's going to deal with some things right now, and we're going to be supportive."

Ovechkin's father had not been in Washington in recent years while dealing with health issues at home in Moscow. Before that, Mikhail was a familiar face at the Capitals' practice facility and at games watching his son.

"Mr. Ovechkin was a true gentleman and was such a significant and consistent presence at Capitals games and practices," the team said in a statement. "With a constant smile on his face, he loved interacting with our fans and expressing his gratitude for their support of his son, of whom he was incredibly proud.

"Our organization's thoughts are with the Ovechkin family at this difficult time."

WATCH | Ovechkin scores goal No. 802:

Ovechkin leads Capitals to win over Jets, passes Gordie Howe with 802nd career NHL goal

9 months ago
Duration 3:32
Alex Ovechkin scored his 801st and 802nd goals passing Gordie Howe for second on the NHL career list as Washington beat Winnipeg 4-1.

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