Longtime NHL coach Pat Quinn dies at 71 of lengthy illness

Nov 24, 2014 at 3:11 p.m. ET

The sporting world has lost one of its greats, Pat Quinn.

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Quinn, who spent more than four decades in the NHL as a head coach, former player and general manager, died at Vancouver General Hospital on Sunday following a long illness, the Huffington Post reports. He was aged 71.

Quinn's career was impressive and as a player he skated 606 games until an ankle injury ended his career after the 1976-1977 season. He then went on to coach some 1,400 matches, earning himself the prestigious Jack Adams Award for Coach of the Year with two different teams.

He was also the Hockey Hall of Fame's chairman of the board, and the Hall of Fame released a statement on Monday confirming his death.

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"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pat Quinn," said Jim Gregory, vice-chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame. "Pat is one of hockey's most respected individuals whose lifetime involvement as a player, coach and executive has made an indelible mark on the game, and our thoughts and prayers are with Sandra [Quinn's wife] and all of Pat's family and friends at this extremely difficult time."

Lovingly nicknamed "The Big Irishman," Quinn touched the lives of many in the hockey industry and is perhaps best remembered for leading Canada to the gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

He will be missed by many, including Canucks president Trevor Linden, who expressed his deep sadness at the death of Quinn.

"We have lost a great man. It's a sad day for hockey and for everyone who loves our game. I wouldn't be the person I am today if it weren't for Pat. He was a great leader and always a teacher," he said in a statement according to CBC Sports.

Watch the Diem Brown video that played at her funeral

Our thoughts are with Quinn's family and friends, as well as all those who loved him, during this sad time.

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