Tennis player Aryna Sabalenka’s boyfriend has died.

Konstantin Koltsov, a former Belarusian ice hockey player, was 42 years old.

The news was announced by Salavat Yulaev, the Russian ice hockey club for which Mr. Koltsov played and later worked as an assistant coach.

“It is with great sadness that we inform you that Salavat Yulaev’s coach Konstantin Koltsov has passed away,” the team said in a statement on Tuesday.

His cause of death was not revealed.

The club described him as a “strong and cheerful person” who was “loved and respected by players, colleagues and fans”.

The statement added: “Konstantin Evgenievich has forever etched himself in the history of our club.”

“Rest in peace.”

Mr. Koltsov played for Belarus He was a member of the national ice hockey team at the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics and spent parts of three seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League between 2002 and 2006.

Mr Koltsov is known for his speed on the ice and played for Salavat Yulaev in 2008 when they won the Russian Super League.

According to People magazine, he was first linked to Sabalenka – currently ranked No. 2 in the Women’s Tennis Association world rankings – in June 2021, and the pair have frequently posted pictures together on social media.

In an Instagram post in April last year, Sabalenka, 25, posted a birthday message to Mr Koltsov, writing: “You are my favorite person, my best friend and my strongest support.”

“I hope we will have everything we planned. I love you.”

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Belarus' Konstantin Koltsov (L) celebrates a goal against Russia during their IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship quarterfinal game in Bern May 6, 2009. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer (SWITZERLAND SPORT ICE HOCKEY)
Konstantin Koltsov celebrates a goal in 2009. Photo: Reuters

Mr Koltsov was also seen supporting Sabalenka after she won her second straight victory Australian Open title in January, defeating China’s Zheng Qinwen to take the crown.

Last week the Belarusian lost in the round of 16 in Indian Wells after a defeat against Emma Navarro. She is scheduled to play her first match on Friday at the Miami Open.

It is unknown whether she will take part in the tournament or not.

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