The actor was found dead in his car by police in Des Moines, Washington, TMZ reports. He had committed suicide by shooting himself, according to the coroner.
In college, Mantenuto played hockey at the University of Maine. He later used those skill in "Miracle," a film that tells the underdog tale of the legendary 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. His character, Jack O'Callahan, was a key member of the gold medal-winning squad who went on to play in the NHL.
Although "Miracle" received a positive reception and even won the 2004 ESPY Award for Best Sports Movie, Mantenuto only starred in three movies over the course of his acting career. One of them was 2008's "Surfer, Dude" with Matthew McConaughey. He later enlisted in the army and served in the Special Forces.
Not surprisingly, the tragic news was met with sadness on social media; fans expressed their grief and paid tribute to the late actor.
I'm legitimately upset to hear of Michael Mantenuto's passing and will probably watch Miracle tonight :(— Christine Rousselle (@crousselle) April 27, 2017
Apparantly, Michael Mantenuto died today. His work as Jack O'Callahan was legendary. #RIPMike— PNHS Meme Team (@Not_Hank_Hill) April 27, 2017
Rip Michael Mantenuto 😭 You will always be the cutest hockey player!! #miracle— Rachel Louise Taylor (@Racheltaymusic) April 27, 2017
so sad. rip michael mantenuto. pic.twitter.com/kKw7NPauNd— morgan. (@MorganSimonski_) April 27, 2017