Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson and his wife revealed on Wednesday the loss of their son, just one month before his due date.
The NHL player and wife Melinda were expecting their first child together in April, but the couple shared on Instagram that he 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," Karlsson wrote on Instagram alongside footprint stamps of their son. "We would like to thank everyone for the love and support we have received and also for respecting our privacy and the process we need to go through now."
"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," the hockey player added.
In light of the tragic news, the team issued its support for the Swedish-born player and his wife in a statement posted to its website on Tuesday.
"The collective thoughts and prayers of the Ottawa Senators organization, the city of Ottawa and entire hockey community rest with Erik and Melinda Karlsson following the loss of their son," the statement read. "We ask that you respect the family's wishes for privacy during the grieving process."
While the NHL community and fans surrounded the couple with love, Karlsson clapped back at one rude follower who commented on his heartfelt announcement post.
"I feel bad for the baby, he didn't have a fighting chance with Melinda popping pain killer medication everyday," the follower wrote.
Karlsson said the troll has been harassing him for months on social media, but he did not allow an attack on his wife to go without a reply.
"How dare you. You have been making fake accounts and buying hacked ones for months to harass me and my wife but this is an all new low even for you. You are a disgusting person," he replied.
As of the time of publishing, the user, sandaydandy45 – Sandra B. – had zero posts, two followers and was only following two accounts, with Erik Karlsson being one of them.
Karlsson and Melinda first announced in November that they were expecting their first child. The couple tied the knot three months earlier in Ottawa, where he has played professional hockey since 2008.0comments