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Erik Karlsson, wife Melinda thankful for public’s ‘love and support’ after loss of unborn son

FILE - In this May 16, 2017, file photo, Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson prepares for a face-off during the second period of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, in Pittsburgh.
FILE - In this May 16, 2017, file photo, Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson prepares for a face-off during the second period of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, in Pittsburgh. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File

Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda are expressing thanks for the support they have received after the death of their son.

The Karlssons posted a message Wednesday on Twitter thanking the public for offering “love and support” and respecting their privacy. The message confirmed that their son, Axel, was stillborn.

“At this extremely difficult time it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel but we know one day we’ll get there,” they said. “We would like to thank everyone for the love and support we have received and also for respecting our privacy and the process that we need to go through.

“We feel very lucky to be Axel’s parents. Even though he was stillborn, we know we will hold him again one day under different circumstances and the joy he gave us will be with us forever.”

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The 27-year-old star defenceman and his wife announced in November they were expecting their first child.

Karlsson’s teammates rallied around him after Tuesday night’s home game against Florida.