Ex-Harvard forward Cavanagh found dead in apparent suicide

Tom Cavanagh, a former Harvard forward from 2001-2005, was found dead Thursday morning in a parking garage at a Providence, R.I., mall in an apparent suicide.

He was 28.

Police told the Providence Journal that Cavanagh’s body was found in one area of the garage shortly before noon and his car was discovered in another part of the garage later in the day. An autopsy revealed “multiple traumatic injuries due to blunt force impact.”

“Our son, Tom, was a young man who bravely fought the demons of mental illness for many years,” Cavanagh’s father, Joseph, an attorney, said in a statement. “This private struggle far surpassed his public athletic accomplishments. Our family will celebrate and always remember his beautiful but short life.”

A Rhode Island native, Cavanagh was an All-State hockey player at Toll Gate High School before moving on to Harvard.

After college, Cavanagh played mostly in the AHL for the next five seasons, but did play 18 games in the NHL for San Jose, scoring his first and only goal March 28, 2009 in a 3-2 win against Phoenix.

Cavanagh was not playing professionally this season after seeing limited time a year ago for Manchester of the AHL.

“We are shocked and saddened by the news of Tom’s passing,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. “Tom was an extraordinary young man and a terrific teammate who spent four seasons with our organization. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.”