BOSTON (CBS) -- David Patten, a Super Bowl champion member of the Patriots, has died. He was 47 years old.
According to the State, a newspaper in South Carolina, Patten was riding a motorcycle Thursday night and died after a collision.
News of Patten's death first hit Twitter on Friday morning, when Richard Seymour said that he was heartbroken to hear the news of his former teammate.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick both released statements Friday afternoon on the passing of the former Patriots receiver.
"I am heartbroken by the news of David's passing," said Kraft. "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. In New England, he will always be remembered as a three-time Super Bowl Champion. His touchdown reception in the AFC Championship game at Pittsburgh propelled the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXVI and I'll never forget his remarkable catch in the back of the end zone in that game. It was our only offensive touchdown in the Super Bowl and secured our first championship in franchise history. Our sincerest sympathies are with his wife, Galiena, his family and all who are mourning David's tragic and untimely death."
"It breaks my heart to hear of David's tragic passing at such a young age," said Belichick. "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 epitomized 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. I can speak for anyone who had the pleasure to be around David that his work ethic, positive energy and character were elite. My deepest condolences are with his family and loved ones."
Patten joined the Patriots in 2001, his fifth season in the NFL after a brief stint in the Arena Football League. He instantly turned in the best season of his career, catching touchdowns in both the AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh and the Super Bowl against the Rams to help New England to its first championship in franchise history. He was injured when the Patriots won their second Super Bowl in the 2003 season, but he contributed to the team's third Super Bowl in 2004, catching 44 passes for 800 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns.
Patten's touchdown catch in Super Bowl XXXVI was the first postseason touchdown pass of Tom Brady's career.
Patten left the Patriots after that 2004 season, but he re-signed with the team in 2010, before retiring that summer.
In the 2001 season, Patten became the first player since 1979 to catch a touchdown, rush for a touchdown, and throw a touchdown pass in the same game. Patten also caught eight passes for 107 yards in the famous Snow Bowl victory over the Raiders during the '01 playoffs.
"He had a tremendous career. He's meant a lot to this team," Belichick said at Patten's retirement press conference. "Going back to '01, when we were getting this program started, the toughness, the attitude, the leadership he brought to this football team in a sort of quiet Troy Brown-like way, he just did his job and worked hard, set the pace for everybody to keep up with."
Former teammates Lawyer Milloy, Deion Branch, Damien Woody and Joe Andruzzi shared their condolences on Twitter, as did former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.
After his playing career, Patten earned his college degree, coached at his alma mater, and became a minister.
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