One of the foundational members of the Patriots franchise has passed away.
Former Patriots wide receiver and kicker Gino Cappelletti died at his home on Thursday morning, the team announced. He was 89 years old.
An original member of the Boston Patriots in 1960, Cappelletti was involved with the Patriots franchise as a player, coach and broadcaster for much of the first 51 years of its existence. He was the club's second inductee into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1992.
"My heart aches after learning of Gino Cappelletti's passing this morning," said owner Robert Kraft, via the team's website. "For the first 51 years of this franchise's history, Gino contributed as an all-star player, assistant coach and broadcaster. You couldn't be a Patriots fan during that era and not be a fan of Gino's. The Patriots have had many iconic, fan-favorite players over the years. Gino was the first. I remember watching him play in 1960 and throughout his career.
"He was one of the AFL's biggest stars, becoming the first Patriots player to earn league MVP honors and retiring as the league's all-time leading scorer. He became the second player in franchise history to earn Patriots Hall of Fame induction and I will always believe he deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. As great of a player as he was, he was an even better person and storyteller. On behalf of my family and the entire Patriots organization, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Gino's wife, Sandy, their three daughters, Gina, Cara and Christina, and their 10 grandchildren, as well as the many others who will be mourning his loss."
Cappelletti spent his entire career with the Patriots from 1960 to 1970 and was one of three players to play in every game of the American Football League's 10-year history (Hall of Famers Jim Otto, George Blanda). Cappelletti was named Most Valuable Player of the AFL in 1964, was a five-time all-star selection and finished his career as the league's all-time leader in points (1,100) and field goals (170). He was named to the AFL's all-decade team in 1971.
In his 11 seasons, Cappelletti totaled 176 field goals, 353 extra points and produced 292 receptions for 4,589 yards and 42 touchdowns as a receiver.
Cappelletti's name remains in the Patriots' record books 51 seasons after his final game. His single-game record of 28 points in 1965 still stands, and his 1,130 career points ranks third all-time in franchise history. Cappelletti, whose No. 20 was retired by the franchise, was named to the Patriots' all-time team for the club's 50th anniversary season in 2009.
Cappelletti spent seven seasons in the broadcast booth immediately following his playing career, but returned to the sidelines for a brief stint as a special teams coach (1979-1981). Cappelletti made his return to the booth in 1988 and voiced Patriots games up through the 2011 season.