- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2011

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - An autopsy performed on Rick Martin determined that the former Buffalo Sabres star forward died of hypertensive heart disease.

New York State Police issued the findings of the autopsy performed Monday, a day after Martin was found unresponsive after the car he was driving left the road and struck a utility pole in suburban Buffalo.

Dr. Diane Vertes conducted the autopsy at Buffalo’s Erie County Medical Center, and ruled the cause of death to be Hypertensive Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease, which is related to high blood pressure and clogged arteries.

The 59-year-old Martin was a member of the Sabres‘ famed French Connection in the 1970s, playing left wing alongside center Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert.

Martin broke in with the Sabres in 1971, and spent the next 10-plus seasons in Buffalo before completing his career with Los Angeles during the 1981-82 season. His 382 goals with the Sabres, still rank second on the team list.

After retiring, the Quebec-born Martin eventually settled in western New York.

In lieu of a funeral, the Sabres, in coordination with Martin’s family, announced that a public memorial service for the player will be held March 24 at HSBC Arena.

The family is asking that donations in Martin’s memory can be made to Compass House, a Buffalo shelter that provides counseling for runaway and homeless youth.

Martin is survived by his wife Mikey and their two sons, Corey and Josh.

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