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Former coach Pat Burns continues to laugh over false reports of his death

Oct 6, 2010, 9:02 PM EDT

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patburns2.jpgMany folks while stricken with life-threatening illness will sometimes be morose or downbeat about things going on in their lives. It’s understandable to do so, so when you see former three-time Jack Adams Award winning coach Pat Burns yukking it up and having fun at the expense of those seemingly eager to report on his death, it can’t help but make you smile and root for the man.

Such is the case with Burns, who is dealing with terminal lung cancer, as he continues to show people that he’s very much alive and while he’s sick, he’ll keep doing what he always does: Being feisty. Burns made an appearance at the ground breaking for a new arena being named after him in Quebec, and while he’s not looking well, he’s as lively as ever with a one-liner.

“I’m not dead yet,” he cracked to journalists in a hushed tone, his once-booming voice now thin.

It was his first official event since several news outlets reported him dead just a few weeks ago.

He thought he had made his last media appearance in March, when he helped announce a project for the new Pat Burns Arena in Stanstead, a border town in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.

But the resilient ex-cop was back Wednesday for the groundbreaking ceremony.

He pulled up to the gathering riding shotgun in an SUV, slowly exited and then, with assistance, shuffled on his skinny legs to a seat.

“I’m still alive,” Burns, wrapped in a red blanket, told a swarm of reporters shortly after sitting down.

He had little else to say and didn’t speak during the news conference.

You can’t help but root for Pat Burns here. Cancer is an awful disease and while he’s continuing to fight it and battle on despite how bad it is for him personally, he’s still able to drop in on this event and show that even a debilitating condition won’t stop him. Burns has always been a great quote in hockey and an outstanding man in the business. Hopefully he can continue to laugh about this for some time.

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