Former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel passes away at age 71

Former New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel has died.

Fassel's son, John, confirmed his father's death to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times on Monday night.

According to the L.A. Times, Fassel, who lived in Las Vegas, was experiencing chest pains on Monday and was taken to a local hospital. Fassel died of a heart attack while under sedation, his son said.

"It is with a very heavy heart to announce that we lost our Dad yesterday. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time," John Fassel, the Cowboys special teams coordinator, said in a statement to the Times. "While our Dad will be remembered as a longtime fan and face of the football world, his legacy will live forever in our hearts as the greatest Dad and Grandpa of all time. He leaves behind his wife Kitty, their 5 kids and spouses, as well as 16 happy and healthy grandkids. We love you Dad."

Fassel won the 1997 AP NFL Coach of the Year award after his first season as Giants coach. Three years later, by virtue of his mid-season guarantee to make the playoffs in 2000, Fassel's Giants became NFC champions before losing to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV. During his seven seasons as Giants coach, Fassel reached the playoffs three times and accumulated a regular-season record of 58-53-1.

"On behalf of the Mara and Tisch families and our entire organization, I would like to express our condolences to the Fassel family and Jim's friends," Giants co-owner John Mara said in a statement. "We were all saddened to hear of Jim's passing. Jim was a good man and his record as our coach speaks for itself. Jim distinguished himself by the way he managed our team and devoted his efforts to the fire fighters and other families following the tragedy of 9-11. The players respected Jim and enjoyed playing for him and his coaching staff. And we appreciated his seven years of leading our team."

Hall of Fame defensive end Michael Strahan, who played seven seasons under Fassel in New York, said in a statement, "I've spent some of my most formative years with Jim Fassel as my head coach. He was a true player's coach. He understood how to make you a better football player and push you to be your best, yet have you know that he cared about you more as a human being than an athlete. I'll never forget him pushing the chips in the middle of the table and leading us to Super Bowl XXXV. His impact on me and the Giants organization will never be forgotten."

Fassel's NFL coaching career began in New York under the direction of Bill Parcells, who hired him as an assistant in 1991. After the Giants won Super Bowl XXV, Parcells promoted Fassel to offensive coordinator. Fassel held that title for the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals before landing the Giants head coaching job ahead of the '97 season. Fassel eventually found himself in Baltimore after his tenure in New York, serving as the Ravens OC before being let go midway through the 2006 season.

Fassel returned to coaching in 2009 in the now defunct United Football League. He led the Las Vegas Locomotives to consecutive UFL championships in his first two seasons as head coach and remained there up until the league suspended play in 2012.

His longtime coaching career was preceded by a short playing career as a quarterback. A seventh-round selection by the Chicago Bears, Fassel also spent time with the Houston Oilers and San Diego Chargers in 1972 before landing in the Canadian Football League with the Toronto Argonauts. His playing days ended with The Hawaiians of the defunct World Football League before becoming a full-time coach in the college ranks.

Born in Anaheim, Calif. in 1949, Fassel was 71 years old.