According to local authorities, Matiss Kivlenieks, a Columbus Blue Jackets goalie, died Sunday night after being hit in the chest by an explosive firework during a July Fourth celebration.
Kivlenieks, a Latvian-born player, signed with the Blue Jackets in 2019, and played in two games for Columbus.
Matiss was at an Independence Day celebration at a Novi, Michigan private residence when the fatal accident occurred.
Officials from Michigan claim that a mortar-style firework was accidentally fired towards a group of hot tub users... striking Kivlenieks.
Matiss was taken to the hospital by rescue workers at 10:10 PM. Doctors were not able to save his life.
Although law enforcement continues to investigate, they don't believe that there was any foul play.
A spokesperson for the police stated that "at the moment, it's pretty certain this was an accident."
Initial reports stated that Matiss had died from a slip and fall following the blast. However, on Monday morning, a Michigan medical examiner said otherwise. This clarified the fact that the firework was the cause of Matiss' death.
The Blue Jackets released a statement via social media. They wrote: "It's very difficult that we share with you the news that Matiss Kivlenieks, goaltender for the Blue Jackets, has died last night at the tender age of 24."
"We are devastated. We are so sorry for his loss. Please keep him and his family in your prayers. Kivi, rest in peace.
Jarmo Kekalainen (General Manager of the team) also spoke out on the terrible loss. "Life is precious, but can also be fragile." Today, hug your loved ones. Matissa, we will miss you so much.