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Sabres legend, 'French Connection Line' winger Rene Robert dies at 72

June 22 (UPI) -- Former NHL star winger Rene Robert, who was a member of the Buffalo Sabres' famed "French Connection Line," died Tuesday at a hospital in Florida. He was 72.

Robert had been on life support since being hospitalized in Port Charlotte, Fla., in the middle of last week after suffering a heart attack.

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"Rene was a tremendous player, teammate and person and truly loved this organization," the Sabres said in a statement. "His accomplishments on the ice as a member of the French Connection speak for themselves, but his impact in the community continued long past his playing career."

Robert, acquired by the Sabres in a trade that sent Eddie Shack to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1972, played right wing alongside left winger Rick Martin and Hall of Fame center Gilbert Perreault on the "French Connection Line," which earned its nickname because all three star players were from Quebec.

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The Sabres honored the iconic line by erecting a statue of the three players that sits in a plaza outside the team's KeyBank Center. Their numbers also have been retired, and their names hang from the rafters in the arena.

"During our time with the team, Rene has been one of the most active alumni and we've grown to know him well over the past 10 years," Sabres owner Terry Pegula said. "He was a friend to us and to the entire organization and will be missed dearly."

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Robert recorded a career-best 40 goals twice during his seven-plus seasons with the Sabres. He was traded to the then-Colorado Rockies in 1979 and ended his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1982.

In 524 career games with the Sabres, Robert notched 222 goals and 552 points. He ended his career with 284 total goals and 702 points in 744 games.

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