Rypien played for six seasons in the Vancouver Canucks organization before taking an "indefinite leave of absence" last November to deal with personal matters. The Canucks organization did not disclose the nature of the matters, but according to an article in The Province, the issue was widely speculated to be related to Rypien's mental health.
He was signed on to the newly revived Winnipeg Jets last month as a forward.
Angela Rypien, the cousin of Rick, commented on the news via twitter.
"I will never forget today and what sadness and hurt it has brought upon my family!" she wrote. "R.I.P Rick Rypien, I love you so much and will miss you more than anything!"
Canucks fans on the team's forum have set up a discussion, "Please Remember Rick", to discuss the player's best moments and memories with the team.
Below is a video post of his early days with the Vancouver Canucks: