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Pat Quinn passes away after lengthy battle with illness

WATCH:  Pat Quinn was dedicated to the game of hockey for decades, as a player, a coach and an executive. Quinn died Sunday at the age of 71, after battling a long illness. The outpouring from the sports world, following news of his death, is a measure of how legendary he was. Carey Marsden reports.

VANCOUVER – Former Vancouver Canucks coach and co-owner of the Vancouver Giants, Pat Quinn, has passed away at the age of 71.

In an announcement on their Facebook page, the Vancouver Giants said Quinn passed away Sunday night at Vancouver General Hospital after a lengthy illness.

“Words cannot express the pain we all feel today for the Quinn family,” said Giants majority owner Ron Toigo in the post. “Pat was an inspiration to all of us. He always said that respect was something that should be earned, not given, and the respect that he garnered throughout the hockey world speaks for itself. He will be sorely missed.”

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Those wishing to send messages of condolence are asked to either email patquinn@vancouvergiants.com or send mail to the Giants’ offices at the address listed below.

Pat Quinn
Vancouver Giants
100 North Renfrew Street
Vancouver, BC
V5K 3N7

Early career

Quinn was born on January 29, 1943 in Hamilton, Ontario.

He started his hockey career with the Hamilton Tiger Cubs and the Hamilton Kilty B’s in the Ontario Hockey Association. After high school he joined the Edmonton Oil Kings with the Central Alberta Hockey League before turning pro in 1963.  He was called up to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1968.

He was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in 1970 and played two seasons in Vancouver before being traded in 1972 to the Atlanta Flames.

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He retired from playing in 1977 after he injured his ankle.

WATCH: Canucks President Trevor Linden describes his last visit with Pat Quinn

Philadelphia Flyers

But his association with hockey didn’t end there. After retirement he became an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Flyers and during the 1979-80 NHL season he led the team to a record-breaking 35 game winning streak as their head coach. They lost to the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup finals however, but he was awarded the Jack Adams Award for his coaching efforts.

Los Angeles Kings

In 1984 he became the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings and also got a law degree at the University of San Diego.

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AM-NHL

Vancouver Canucks

In December 1986 he then signed a contract to become the president and General Manager of the Vancouver Canucks, while still under contract with the LA Kings. He was suspended for doing so and was not able to start in Vancouver until June 1988 and was not able to coach until the 1990-91 season.

He joined the Canucks as president and GM for the 1987-88 season and brought in Kirk McLean, Trevor Linden and Pavel Bure. When the coaching ban was lifted in 1991 he became the head coach for the Canucks and took them all the way to the Stanley Cup finals in 1994 against the New York Rangers.

ARCHIVE VIDEO: Former Canucks head coach Pat Quinn reflects on the 1994 team and what could have been:

READ: ‘We have lost a great man’: Trevor Linden on Pat Quinn’s passing

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Toronto Maple Leafs

In 1998 he was named the head coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he was named finalist for the Jack Adams Award and was named GM of the Leafs. In August 2003 he was replaced as GM but stayed on as coach. He was fired in 2006 after the Leafs failed to qualify for the playoffs.

WATCH: Maple Leafs coaches, players react to news of Pat Quinn’s death

Edmonton Oilers

After three years in which he coached under-18 and junior teams, Quinn returned as head coach for the Edmonton Oilers. He only coached them for one season but they finished last place in the league with a record 27-47-8.

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Team Canada

Quinn also coached Team Canada to their first gold medal in 50 years when they defeated Team USA at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. In 2004 he then coached them to victory in the 2004 World Cup and was chosen once again as head coach for the team at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. However, they lost to Switzerland and Finland in the preliminary round and then to Russia in the quarter finals.

READ MORE: ‘Hockey needs more Pat Quinns’: fans post condolences for NHL coach
READ MORE: The time Pat Quinn walked in a Boston bar after his hit on Bobby Orr

Illness

It is not known at this time what Quinn was suffering from but questions were raised when the 71-year-old did not attend the Hockey Hall of Fame awards ceremonies last Monday. The family would not expand on his illness but said he was meeting his challenges “head on”.

WATCH: Former Vancouver Canucks’ owner Arthur Griffiths speaks to Sophie Lui and Steve Darling about the passing of Pat Quinn:

Condolences

Tributes to the hockey legend have been pouring in since news of his death broke online.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have issued a statement from Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment chairman Larry Tanenbaum, saying “on behalf of the ownership, management, staff, and players of the Toronto Maple Leafs, we are all deeply saddened by the loss of Pat Quinn. Pat was an associate and good friend to so many of us. We join hockey fans around the country in offering our thoughts and prayers to his wife, Sandra, and daughters Kalli and Val.”

Toronto Maple Leafs president and alternate governor Brendan Shanahan called this “a tremendous loss for the hockey community.”

Pat will be revered not only for his great accomplishments in sport but also for his courage and strength in face of his illness, and his dedication to family.”

Quinn

The Boston Bruins have also issued a statement:

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“On behalf of the Bruins organization we are saddened to learn of the passing of Pat Quinn. Pat was a great hockey man who has left an indelible mark our game, but more importantly he was a true gentleman. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper tweeted:

Former Vancouver Giants player and current Montreal Canadiens’ right wing Brendan Gallagher tweeted:

In a statement, B.C. premier Christy Clark said:

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“I was deeply saddened this morning to learn that Pat Quinn had passed away. British Columbians knew him  best as one of the finest players, coaches and leaders the NHL has ever produced. Not only was he was an original Canuck, but he went on to lead the Canucks to within a game of the Stanley Cup in 1994, and will forever be remembered for coaching Team Canada to its first Olympic gold medal in 50 years.

“Pat was a big man with a bigger heart whose legacy will live on for generations, in the hockey world and beyond. His approach to his illness was the same as his approach to hockey: a challenge he met head on.”

GALLERY: Viewers remember Pat Quinn

Pat Quinn, hockey, Vancouver Canucks
"I got to meet Pat numerous times while writing sports blogs as well as Gino taking me to hockey games. Here is Pat in his owners box at the Giants game, and downstairs at a the stadium... Class act!!". Marcia McNaughton
Pat Quinn; Vancouver Canucks
"I met him in the Canucks office back in the 90s. Very respectful even when he didn't know you. Great man.". Rino Pozzobon
Pat Quinn, hockey
"Ran into after a Giants game in I'd say 2008. We were so excited to just say hi. Asked for a picture and he seemed humbled that we asked. Still the biggest "celebrity" I've met.". Tony Hughes
Pat Quinn, hockey
"I met Pat Quinn in Golf Town in Vancouver two summers ago. I grew up watching hockey and he was a favorite of mine. I was so nervous and I kept kind of hesitating to go say hi. He walked by and smiled at me so then I blurted out "I'm a huge fan!" He then asked if I wanted a picture. A very sweet guy.". Melissa Rheaume
Pat Quinn, hockey
"I've been a canucks fan my whole life. I play hockey and really looked up to pats love and knowledge of the game I had the pleasure of meeting him 4 years ago in penticton, he didn't hesitate when I asked him for a photo and he was such a gentleman he held the door open for me and told me to have a good night. I will never forget that meeting.". Amanda Dyck
Pat Quinn; hockey; NHL
"My son, Chase Baker, and I had the pleasure of spending the day with Pat Quinn during Rick Hansen's 25th Anniversary Relay run in 2011 as they were part of the same relay team. What a lovely man and such a great loss.". Tracey Chapple
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Pat Quinn, hockey
"I met my favourite Canucks Coach Pat Quinn in July of 2010 when Trevor Linden was inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010 in Penticton, BC. His speech for Trevor was awesome!". Natasha Dash
Pat Quinn, hockey
"Pat was a family friend...my dad was invited to go on road trips with the flyers in the 80' s. ...jealous was at the opening of my store in Yaletown and my restraunt in Gas Town.". Dino Minichiello
Pat Quinn, hockey
"Pat was a family friend...my dad was invited to go on road trips with the flyers in the 80' s. ...jealous was at the opening of my store in Yaletown and my restraunt in Gas Town.". Dino Minichiello
Pat Quinn, hockey
"Mr. Quinn was a legend but he was also a kind man. I am on the GGMS board and we raised money for defibrillators to be placed in BC. We had 2 charity hockey games. My rec team vs Canucks oldtimers and Pat Quinn came to both games as a coach. The 2nd game he informed us he could not make it but two days before he asked us if he could come. He flew up from Arizona on his own dime. He then signed autographs for an hour and never complained once. A great man!". Jason Dissegna
Pat Quinn, hockey
"I'm a local book publicist at one of our book launches I was lucky enough to meet Pat. As you can see by my expression I was pretty stoked!". Danielle Johnson
Pat Quinn, hockey
"I met Pat Quinn in Musqueam when him and Pavel Bure were there with Gino Odjick. Such a nice man. He will be sadly missed in Canuck.land. RIP Pat Quinn". Trevor Angus
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Pat Quinn, hockey, NHL
"We had the pleasure of meeting him at the BC Hockey Hall of Fame in Penticton BC in 2010. My father, Larry Kwong was being inducted in the Pioneer category as the first Asian drafted into the NHL to the New York Rangers. Pat Quinn was one of the first “big names” there to come and congratulate my dad.". Kristina Kwong
Pat Quinn, hockey, NHL
"He took the time to stop and talk with my dad and our family and was gracious enough to take a photo with my girls. Very nice man indeed, kind, friendly, and a genuine smile. We are so sad to hear the news, it was a real honour to meet a true gentleman.". Kristina Kwong
Pat Quinn, hockey
" Pat Quinn you are one of the greatest to ever be a part of our game, from Minor Hockey, Junior, NHL to The National level not many have made an impact like you have. My family and I got the priviledge to meet Pat a few years back. He was always willing to share his words of wisdome for the game of hockey and life. RIP Pat..". Trevor Ashley