As first reported last night by the Toronto Sun, and now being reported by the Associated Press, Wade Belak hanged himself in his hotel room.
This sad story simply became more shocking, as if that was even possible. No one, at least not anyone who has gone on record, saw this coming. Wade had just started hosting a new weekly radio show in Nashville, he had just in the past week agreed to work on the Predators' television broadcasts, and he was in Toronto to work on a Canadian reality show. In other words, it's highly possible that his profile, at least here in Nashville, would have been higher than even during his playing days.
At a press conference last evening, Predators GM David Poile said that Belak was at the Predators' offices on Monday, and was as happy-go-lucky as ever. Twitter user @thepuckdude tweeted this photo earlier today, which he says was taken Tuesday night and theorizes could be the last photo ever taken of Belak. He appears to be having a good time at a bar.
I shouldn't speculate about why Wade Belak would have taken his own life. I didn't know the man, and I obviously didn't know his struggles. But it seems that literally no one saw this coming.
If you feel so inclined, you can donate $3 (Wade wore #3) to the National Tourette Syndrome Association. Wade's daughter has been diagnosed with the disease, and that was the charity for which Wade was scheduled to compete during Battle of the Blades. You can get more information over at PuckScene.
This story is just awful, and how the Predators choose to memorialize him will be tricky. The situation won't be as tricky as the situation facing the Titans following Steve McNair's death two years ago, but it would behoove the Predators to do something, especially considering Belak's popularity among the local fan base.
What do you think?