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Rypien fought depression News of Jet's death stuns ex-teammate

Rick Rypien was scheduled to fly to Winnipeg on Sunday night to have his knee checked out.

He left a message for a Jets official that morning asking whether there was ice he could skate on.

But he never boarded the flight.

Rypien had been dealing with depression for at least a decade, said Jets assistant general manager Craig Heisinger, who was the GM of the Manitoba Moose when Rypien played for the AHL team. The 27-year-old former Vancouver Canucks player was found dead in his Alberta home Monday.

Longtime friend and former teammate Jason Jaffray said Rypien seemed happy in the days before his death and was eager to join a new team in Winnipeg.

"Everyone knew he had some issues that he had to get taken care of last year, and he was definitely a new man when he came back and he was definitely the happiest I'd even seen him," Jaffray said Tuesday from his home in Olds, Alberta.

"We actually had joked around about bringing a Cup back to Winnipeg."

The Jets and Canucks confirmed Rypien's death in statements Monday night. Police in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, said they received a call Monday afternoon about a "sudden and non-suspicious" death.

There was no immediate word on the cause of death.

Rypien spent parts of six seasons with the Canucks organization. He played only nine games with Vancouver last season and spent most of the year dealing with personal issues.

Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis declined to give specifics about what treatment Rypien had been receiving.

"Over the course of the last three seasons, we participated in a variety of different initiatives with him and we were all really close with him," Gillis said Tuesday in Toronto. "We felt we were on course."

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