Rick Jeanneret, a long-time Sabres broadcaster in Canada, has died at the age of 81.

Rick Jeanneret, the Hockey Hall of Fame's 2012 Foster Hewitt Award recipient and the voice of the Buffalo Sabres after a 51-year broadcasting career, died on Thursday. He was 81.

According to a statement provided by Jeanneret's family, he died with his family by his side after a two-year battle with multi-organ failure. 

He will be loved forever," the family said in a statement.

By listening to the team's games on the radio while living in Pittsburgh, Pegula became a fan of the Sabres and their legendary French Connection line in the 1970s, thanks in part to Jeanneret. 

When I was growing up in Buffalo, Rick Jeanneret was more than just the Sabres' voice; he was the voice of our city." "He helped foster my love of hockey," Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams noted.

Rick was an incredible man who was adored by everyone," Adams continued. "His wit and humor were unrivaled, and we are all fortunate to have known him.

Jeanneret, now retired, continued to attend Sabres games last season, traveling from his home in neighboring Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Jeanneret was notorious for saying things like, "Top shelf, where mama hides the cookies," if a Sabres player scored by roofing a shot high into the net.

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