David Patten, a three-time Super Bowl champion with New England Patriots, has tragically passed away at the age of 47 following a motorbike crash in America.
Tributes immediately flooded in for the former Patriots wide receiver, whose body was identified by coroner Nadia Rutherford after the fatal crash near Columbia in his native South Carolina.
According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, Patten crossed the median before the crash, which involved two other cars.
Patten enjoyed an illustrious career within NFL, having played for five teams and helping the Patriots historically lift their first three Super Bowl crowns between 2001 and 2004.
Patten scored a leaping eight-yard touchdown after catching Tom Brady's pass as the Patriots overcame St Louis Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl 36.
After going undrafted in 1996, Patten went onto make it in the NFL – firstly playing for the New York Giants in 1997 before going onto also represent the Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints.
After the American's death was announced, tributes poured in for the former Super Bowl champion.
His former Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who won the Super Bowl's with Patten and is still in charge of the team, said: "It breaks my heart to hear of David's tragic passing at such a young age.
"I am grateful to have coached David. He is an essential person and player in Patriots history, without whom we would not have been Super Bowl champions.
"I especially appreciate David for his professional journey. As much as anyone, David epitomised the unheralded, self-made player who defied enormous odds to not only earn a job in the NFL but to become a key player on multiple championship teams."
And Patriots' owner Robert Kraft added: "He was a devout Christian who followed his passion following his football career and founded his own ministry.
"David transitioned from an undersized and understated wide receiver to a powerful and passionate preacher."
Throughout his 12 seasons before his final NFL game in 2008, Patten featured in 147 regular season games – he finished with 324 catches for 4,715 yards and bagged 24 touchdowns.
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