David Patten, the former three-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, died this week and authorities revealed the cause of death on Friday.
Patten was killed in a motorcycle accident Thursday near Columbia, South Carolina.
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South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Nick Pye said a motorcycle driver crossed the median and caused a crash involving multiple cars, ESPN reported. The coroner’s office identified the motorcycle driver as Patten.
Authorities in South Carolina are still investigating the crash.
Sam Gordon, who had Patten in his management company, told ESPN on Friday that Patten died in his native South Carolina. Patten was 47 years old.
The Patriots later confirmed his death. Team owner Robert Kraft released a statement.
“I am heartbroken by the news of David’s passing. He was a devout Christian who followed his passion after his football career and founded his own ministry. David went from an undersized and low-key catcher to a preacher powerful and passionate, ”Kraft said.
DAVID PATTEN, 3 TIMES SUPER BOWL CHAMPION WITH PATRIOTS, DEAD AT 47 YEARS OLD
“In New England, he will always be remembered as a three-time Super Bowl champion. His touchdown reception in the AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh propelled the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXVI and I will not forget never his remarkable catch from the back of the in-goal zone in this game. It was our only offensive touchdown in the Super Bowl and secured our first championship in franchise history. Our deepest condolences go to his wife, Galiena, his family and all those who mourn the tragic and untimely death of David. “
Patriots coach Bill Belichick also sent his condolences.
“It breaks my heart to learn of David’s tragic passing at such a young age,” he said. “I am grateful to have coached David. He is a person and a vital player in Patriots history, without whom we would not have been Super Bowl champions. I particularly appreciate David for his professional background. than anyone, David played the unknown, self-taught player who challenged huge odds not only to earn a job in the NFL, but to become a key player on multiple championship teams. I can speak for all who have had the pleasure of being around David as his work ethic, positive energy and character were an elite. My deepest condolences go out to his family and loved ones.
Patten was an NFL wide receiver who made his debut with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 1997. He played three seasons withh the Giants before playing for the Cleveland Browns and then the Patriots.
He played in New England for four seasons and was on three Super Bowl winning teams with Tom Brady. He caught a touchdown pass from Brady in Super Bowl XXXVI against the St. Louis Rams. New England would win this game 20-17 thanks to a last-second field goal from Adam Vinatieri.
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Patten would play for the Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints in the latter part of his career. He retired from the NFL in 2010, ending his career with 324 catches for 4,715 yards and 24 touchdowns.