Canadiens icon Jean Béliveau progressing well after stroke

Montreal Canadiens icon Jean Béliveau is making encouraging progress since suffering a stroke on Monday evening, according to his wife.
Canadiens Hall of Famer Jean Beliveau remains closely monitored by specialists but is making encouraging progress after suffering a stroke on Monday, his wife says. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Montreal Canadiens icon Jean Béliveau is making encouraging progress since suffering a stroke Monday evening, according to his wife.

Élise Béliveau told the Montreal Gazette on Thursday that her 80-year-old Hall of Fame husband is speaking and laughing and has regained some of his strength as he goes through more tests.

He remains closely monitored by specialists.

The Canadiens announced Tuesday that Béliveau was admitted to Montreal General Hospital after a stroke a day earlier. He was a patient at the same hospital in June for endovascular surgery to repair abdominal aneurysms.

The former Canadiens great, who won 10 Stanley Cups during his Hall of Fame career, has endured a number of health problems.

Since the 1990s, Béliveau has been in and out of hospital on several occasions. A cancerous tumour was removed from his neck in 2000, and he underwent 35 chemotherapy treatments for a malignant throat tumor. The cancer remains in remission. He also had a stroke in January 2010. Prior to that, it was mostly his heart that was the concern.

Béliveau played his entire 20-year career with the Canadiens and is second on the team’s all-time list in points (1,219) and assists (712) and is third in goals (507).

He capped his brilliant time in Montreal with an unexpected Stanley Cup title in 1971 after the Canadiens upended the Chicago Blackhawks in seven games.

Élise Béliveau expressed gratitude in the Gazette interview for the overwhelming concern and affection shown to her husband and family from around the world.