Former New England Patriots player Russ Francis died at the age of 70 over the weekend after the plane he was aboard crashed in upstate New York, according to state police.
Francis was killed when the plane he was traveling in crashed at Lake Placid on Sunday, Oct. 1.
According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), two people died in the crash, with the other victim identified as pilot Richard McSpadden.
Their plane, a Cessna 177 Cardinal, appeared to experience an emergency after takeoff, the AOPA stated, leading to the aircraft attempting to return but failing to make the runway.
Francis was a pilot himself, as well as President of Lake Placid Airways, according to the company’s website.
Starting his football career in 1975, Francis played 13 seasons in the NFL and spent much of his time in New England, including his first five seasons before heading to the San Francisco 49ers.
Francis was a part of San Francisco’s Super Bowl XIX-winning team in 1984-85 before later returning to the Patriots in 1987, where he would end his career.
“On behalf of the entire New England Patriots organization, we extend our sincerest sympathies to the family of Russ Francis, who tragically passed away yesterday,” Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement. “Russ was a fan favorite throughout his playing career. He was a dynamic player on the field who had an even bigger personality off it. He knew no boundaries, pushed the limits and lived his life to the fullest. Our thoughts are with Russ’s family, friends, teammates and the many Patriots fans who mourn his loss.”
A three-time Pro Bowler, Francis’s career included 393 receptions for 5,262 yards and 40 touchdowns.
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