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Former NHLer Jason Spezza heartbroken over death of brother Matthew

Matthew Spezza Matthew Spezza - The Canadian Press

PITTSBURGH — Former Toronto Maple Leaf forward Jason Spezza says his younger brother Matthew has died of an accidental overdose.

Jason Spezza, who is now an assistant general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins, wrote of his brother's death on Monday in a post on the Penguins' X account formerly known as Twitter.

"On behalf of my family, it is with the heaviest of hearts that I share that my younger brother, Matthew, passed away due to an accidental overdose over the weekend," Spezza wrote. "My family and I are heartbroken and ask for privacy during this difficult time."

Matthew Spezza was 37. The former goaltender played 19 regular-season games in the OHL between 2004 and 2006 for the Kingston Frontenacs, Ottawa 67's, London Knights and Soo Greyhounds.

He was drafted in the eighth round by the Brampton Battalion in the OHL's 2002 entry draft.

"The league sends thoughts and condolences to the Spezza family along with those who were close to Matthew at this difficult time," the OHL said Monday in a statement.

Matthew Spezza also appeared in nine games for the QMJHL's St. John's Fog Devils, as well as 14 games for the IHL's Flint Generals between 2007 and 2009.

Jason Spezza, 40, played 1,248 games for the Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars and Maple Leafs before entering the management ranks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2024.