In the aftermath of the plane crash that all but wiped out a beloved Russian hockey team last week, fans clung to one filament of hope: A single player, 26-year-old Aleksandr Galimov, had somehow survived, staggering from the wreckage and up a riverbank under his own power and telling a pair of astonished police officers, “Brothers, I am Galimov.”
Over the next five days, Mr. Galimov became a sort of talisman for fans, who flowed out into the street in tens of thousands to grieve the loss of the team, Yaroslavl Lokomotiv.
The crowd which converged on the team’s arena chanted “Galimov, live for the whole team,” and “Sanya, fight!” Though his injuries were grave — he had burns to his respiratory tract and covering 90 percent of his body — fans on one Web site asked people “not to discuss the topic,” as if they could keep him alive through sheer force of will.
Mr. Galimov died Monday, administrators at a Moscow burn clinic told the Interfax news service. His death brings the toll of the catastrophe to 44, and deepens what is already being called the greatest tragedy in the history of Russian hockey. The sole remaining survivor of the crash is a member of the crew, Aleksandr Sizov, who is reported to be in stable condition.