The life of Rhode Island native and former Harvard and NHL hockey player Tom Cavanagh tragically came to an end on Thursday, as he was discovered dead in the parking lot of the Providence Place Mall that morning.
An autopsy found that the 28-year-old died of “blunt force impact,” to the head, according to the Providence Journal.
His father, Joseph Cavanagh, released a statement on Friday night.
“Our son, Tom, was a young man who bravely fought the demons of mental illness for many years. This private struggle far surpassed his public athletic accomplishments.
“We hope that his friends and supporters will pray for him and for us during these difficult days. We already have felt the love of so many people of our community,” he remarked.
Cavanaugh graduated from Toll Gate High School in Warwick, R.I. before playing his college hockey at Harvard. In 2005, he moved on to professional hockey and debuted for the San Jose Sharks at the end of the 2007-08 season. Thereafter, he moved to the AHL, where he had been struggling with injuries that had left his future up in the air.
“Our family will celebrate and always remember his beautiful but short life,” said his father.