• Matiss Kivlenieks signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets as a free agent in 2017 
  • He inked a contract extension with the Blue Jackets last year
  • He died Sunday at the age of 24 following a fireworks accident

NHL star Matiss Kivlenieks died Sunday in Michigan at the age of 24 after an accident involving fireworks. He earned a considerable amount as a professional ice hockey goaltender prior to his passing.

The Latvian professional ice hockey player signed a three-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets as a free agent in 2017, according to the NHL website.

Kivlenieks earned $869,000 from his deal with Columbus, Spotrac reported. He received $295,000 in his first year, $447,000 for the second and $126,000 for the last year of his three-year contract.

He went 2-2-2 with a 3.09 goal-against average (GAA) in his eight career games with Columbus, USA Today reported.

Kivlenieks also played for the Cleveland Monsters, the Blue Jackets' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate. While there, he had a 33-35-9 record with a 3.31 GAA and three shutouts in 85 career games.

Kivlenieks also suited up for his native Latvia in several international tournaments.

This past season, Kivlenieks started in two games for the Blue Jackets. He had also recently played for Latvia at the IIHF World Championships, ESPN reported.

Kivlenieks received multiple awards, including the United States Hockey League’s Player of the Year and Goaltender of the Year awards, according to a news release on the NHL website.

In October 2020, the Blue Jackets signed Kivlenieks on a two-year, two-way NHL/AHL contract extension through the 2021-22 season. The agreement would have given the goaltender an average annual salary of $725,000, according to Spotrac.

The hockey star’s career was cut short Sunday night after an accident involving fireworks at a party in Novi, Michigan. Kivlenieks died from a fireworks mortar blast and chest trauma, CNN reported, citing Inspector Mitch Brown of the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office. His death was ruled accidental.

Police in Michigan said that the mortar-style firework shifted and began firing at people, including Kivlenieks, who were in a hot tub during the party, ESPN reported. The goalie was hit in the chest while trying to take cover.

Kivlenieks was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police said that initial autopsy on Kivlenieks determined he received a percussive injury from a powerful fireworks blast that resulted in major damage to his heart and lungs.

"We are shocked and saddened by the loss of Matiss Kivlenieks, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his mother, Astrida, his family and friends during this devastating time," Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson said in a statement via ESPN. "Kivi was an outstanding young man who greeted every day and everyone with a smile and the impact he had during his four years with our organization will not be forgotten."

Matiss Kivlenieks Columbus Blue Jackets
Matiss Kivlenieks #80 of the Columbus Blue Jackets warms up prior to the start of the game against the Detroit Red Wings at Nationwide Arena on May 7, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. Kirk Irwin/Getty Images