New England Patriots Hall of Famer Gino 'The Duke' Cappelletti died Thursday (May 12) morning at the age of 89, the Patriots confirmed in a news release shared on their official website.
Cappelletti was a member of the inaugural Boston Patriots team as both a wide receiver and placekicker during the pre-Super Bowl era of the American Football League.
"My heart aches after learning of Gino Cappelletti's passing this morning," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in an official statement shared by the franchise. "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."
Cappelletti was the 1964 AFL Most Valuable Player and among three players -- Jim Otto and George Blanda -- to have appeared in every game during the league's 10-year history.
Cappelletti finished his playing career as the AFL's all-time leader in points (1,100) and field goals (170), becoming the second player to be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1992, joining former offensive guard John Hannah, who was inducted the previous year.