Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has died from an illness, his family and the team announced Monday night. He was 62.

“The National Hockey League mourns the passing of Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. The words ‘passion’ and ‘commitment’ define the man who has owned the Ottawa Senators since 2003,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement released on Monday. “Whether it was in the boardroom with his fellow governors, at the rink with his beloved Senators or in the community with his philanthropy, he cared deeply about the game, about his team and about bettering the lives of those in need, particularly underserved children, organ donation and, most recently, with his commitment to his parents' home country of Ukraine.

While successful in business, it was our game and his Senators that he was most passionate about.

Melnyk bought the Senators for $92 million in 2003 and earned praise for the franchise’s early success under his watch. Ottawa reached the Stanley Cup Final just four years later, falling to Anaheim in five games.

However, deeper into his tenure, he encountered personal and professional challenges. He had a liver transplant in 2015 after going public with a donor request. He also received intense criticism from fans as he became the face of organizational dysfunction, particularly beginning in 2017. Multiple star players left on bad terms, and financial issues and the threat of relocation lingered.

Despite rumors of a potential change in ownership in 2018, Melnyk maintained he was not interested in selling the franchise.

“Eugene was often outspoken but he maintained an unwavering commitment to the game and his roots and he loved nothing more than donning a Senators sweater and cheering on his beloved team,” Bettman said.

Melnyk is survived by his daughters, Anna and Olivia.

NHL teams, players and other public figures connected to the NHL shared their reactions to Melnyk’s death on social media, including Senators captain Brady Tkachuk.