June 27, 2014 5:55 pm

‘He is still strong as ever': Gino Odjick’s niece

WATCH: Gino Odjick’s niece talks about her uncle

The niece of former Vancouver Canuck Gino Odjick says her family has been overwhelmed with messages of support after it was announced her uncle is battling a terminal heart disease.

Odjick’s letter to teammates and fans distributed by the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night says he was diagnosed with AL amyloidosis.

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Roxane Lacoursiere-Odjick says they found out about Odjick’s condition back in April, and although doctors say he may only have months or even weeks to live, the family is hoping his fighting nature will give him strength.

“He is fighter. He’s always fought, so we are aiming for a lot longer than that,” she says. “We are as strong as we can be. We are family. We are Odjicks.”

Lacoursiere-Odjick says it is amazing to see the outpouring of support from his fans.

She says although Odjick is sick, his spirits are up and he is as strong as ever.

“He is always so full of life and laughter, always cracking jokes…He is an all-around good-hearted guy.”

Forty-three-year-old Quebec native played for a number of NHL teams, including the Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers. Even after being traded to the New York Islanders in 1998, Odjick continued to talk about the special relationship he had with the people of Vancouver.

The Vancouver Canucks have set up a special page where fans can leave messages of support for Odjick.

Odjick’s condition causes abnormal protein to be produced and deposited on the heart.

Amyloidosis Foundation says AL amyloidosis is a rare disease with only 1200 to 3200 new cases reported each year in the United States.

The clinical course of AL amyloidosis is usually associated with rapid disease progression and involvement of multiple organ systems.

READ MORE: Gino Odjick’s rare disease: What is AL amyloidosis?

 

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