Gilbert’s family confirmed the death to Rangers on Sunday. The team did not provide details.
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Rod Gilbert, one of the greatest Rangers to ever play for our organization and one of the greatest ambassadors hockey has ever had,” said Rangers owner James Dolan. in a press release.
“While his on-ice accomplishments have made him a Hall of Famer deservedly, it is his love for the Rangers and the people of New York City that has made him endearing to generations of fans and has him. forever earned the title of ‘Mr. Tidy.’ “
A native of Montreal, Gilbert spent his entire 18-year NHL career with the Rangers – a career that nearly derailed in 1960 when he broke a vertebra in his back after slipping over garbage on the ice while that he was playing for Guelph in the Ontario Junior Hockey Association.
Gilbert recovered and finished with 406 goals and 615 assists in 1,065 regular season games and 34 goals and 33 assists in 79 playoff games. In 1972, he scored one goal and three assists in six games for Canada in its historic eight-game victory over the Soviet Union in the Summit Series.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982.
Gilbert has competed in eight All-Star Games and received the Bill Masterton Trophy in 1976 as an NHL player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
His No.7 jersey became the first number to be retired by the Rangers when he was raised to the rafters of Madison Square Garden on October 14, 1979.