Hockey star Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda released a statement after announcing the death of their unborn son, Axel

Not long after it was revealed that Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson and his wife, Melinda, lost their unborn son just weeks before his birth, the couple published a statement to Twitter and Instagram that showed they are determined to remain optimistic through the heartbreaking tragedy.

Karlsson was absent from the ice during Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers, after which the team broke the news that the 27-year-old’s son died just a month before his mid-April due date. On Wednesday, Karlsson released a joint statement with his wife that touched upon the “difficult time” the couple is going through, while also thanking the NHL community for their outpouring of support.

“At this extremely difficult time it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel but we know one day we’ll get there,” the statement begins. “We would like to thank everyone for the love and support we have received and also for respecting our privacy and the process that we need to go through.”

The couple also opened up about the stillborn birth of their son, whom they named Axel, and expressed their hopes that they would one day be reunited.

“We feel very lucky to be Axel’s parents,” Karlsson and Melinda, who have been married since last year, also said in their statement. “Though he was stillborn, we know we will hold him again one day under different circumstances and the joy he gave us will be with us forever.”

The couple first announced in November that they were expecting their first child together. Since the tragic news, many NHL fans and personalities reached out to the couple to share their condolences.

“I have never seen an NHL player show this much excitement publicly for their child,” wrote one Twitter user. “Condolences to Erik Karlsson and his wife as they lose their son. Truly awful, he is living everyone’s worst nightmare.”