Gil Santos, longtime Patriots broadcaster, dies at 80

BOSTON -- Gil Santos, the New England Patriots' longtime radio voice, died Thursday on his 80th birthday and 57th wedding anniversary.

Son Mark Santos confirmed the death to The Boston Globe. He said the cause of death wasn't immediately clear to the family.

Santos started working Patriots' broadcasts games for WBZ in 1966 as a color analyst. He took over play-by-play duties when the team moved to Foxborough in 1971. WBZ lost the team's broadcast rights in the 1980s, and Santos returned with the station in 1991 and remained a fixture through the 2012 season.

Santos called 743 games in 36 seasons, and also did many Boston College football games. He retired from WBZ in 2009 after 38 years as a sports anchor, and was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame that year. In 2013, he went into the PatriotsHall of Fame.

"It was my privilege to honor Gil with his induction into the PatriotsHall of Fame in 2013," Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a team statement. "His legacy and most memorable calls will live there for future generations of Patriots fans to enjoy."

Santos was born in Acushnet and grew up in Fairhaven. He attended Southeastern Massachusetts University, served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and graduated from the New England Broadcast School.

In addition to his son, Santos is survived by wife Roberta, daughter Kathleen and two grandchildren.

Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press

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