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Olympic hockey hero succumbs to lung cancer at 35

This photo provided by Anyang Halla on Thursday, shows the club's former forward Cho Min-ho, who passed away on Wednesday, after losing his battle with lung cancer. (Anyang Halla)
This photo provided by Anyang Halla on Thursday, shows the club's former forward Cho Min-ho, who passed away on Wednesday, after losing his battle with lung cancer. (Anyang Halla)

Cho Min-ho, who scored South Korea's very first goal in Olympic hockey, has passed away at 35 after losing a battle with lung cancer.

Cho's former South Korean club, Anyang Halla, said Thursday the player had died the previous afternoon. Cho had been diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2021, after returning from training camp and exhibition games against minor league teams in the United States.

Cho immediately began treatment, but his condition had worsened rapidly in recent weeks, according to Anyang Halla.

Cho, who made his national team debut in 2008, scored the opening goal against the Czech Republic in South Korea's first preliminary game at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. South Korea had snuck into the tournament as the host nation but lost every game it played. Cho's first-period goal gave South Korea its first and only lead of the competition.

In his club career, Cho scored 124 goals and added 324 assists in 393 career games in the Asian league. No South Korean player in league history has collected more helpers than Cho. (Yonhap)

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