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Bill Belichick pays heartfelt tribute to late Patriots broadcaster Gil Santos

The New England Patriots family lost a true icon with the loss of longtime broadcaster Gil Santos, who passed away Thursday, his birthday, at the age of 80.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick presumably spoke on behalf of the entire Patriots organization in a heartfelt statement issued Thursday morning about the iconic Santos.

“Gil Santos’ bond with anyone who ever met or heard him is timeless,” Belichick said in the statement, via the Boston Herald. “He will forever remain a special figure in the lives of generations of players, coaches, and fans who knew him and in the lives of those who will hear his legendary voice in the future. Gil was a great friend and he will be missed. His family is in my thoughts and prayers.”

Belichick’s sentiments echoed a statement issued by Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Wednesday upon Santos’ passing.

“For generations of Patriots fans, Gil Santos was and forever will be known as the ‘Voice of the Patriots.’ Tonight, I am deeply saddened to learn of his passing,” Kraft said in a statement issued by the team. “Gil was a legendary broadcaster, who for 36 years passionately described the play-by-play detail of every Patriots game during his career, including many of the most memorable moments in franchise history.”

Santos was the radio voice for the Patriots for 36 years, from 1966-1980 and then from 1991-2012, before retiring. He called six appearances by the Patriots in the Super Bowl.