The team released a statement saying that he died of an apparent head injury from a fall shortly after medical personnel arrived. It was unclear at this time what caused him to fall and whereabouts he was. Multiple messages were left for national federation and team personnel, but they did not respond immediately.
The Blue Jackets referred to it as a "tragic incident." Commissioner Gary Bettman released condolences and issued a statement.
Jarmo Kekalainen, general manager of Columbus, tweeted: "Life can be so fragile and precious. Today, hug your loved ones. Matissa, we will miss you so much.
John Davidson, Blue Jackets president of hockey operations, stated that "we are shocked and saddened at the loss Matiss Kivlenieks." "Kivi was a remarkable young man who welcomed everyone every day with a smile. His four years of service to our organization will be remembered.
Bettman stated that Kivlenieks' "love of life and passion for football will be deeply missed" by all who were privileged to have him as a friend and teammate.
Kivlenieks represented Latvia at the recent world hockey championship, where he played in four games. He was a part of the Blue Jackets' and the American Hockey League's Cleveland Monsters' games this season.
Kivlenieks, a native of Riga in Latvia, signed as a free agent with the Blue Jackets in May 2017. He played eight games for the club. Kivlenieks' passing was deemed a "great loss" by the Latvian Hockey Federation.