Gino Cappelletti, one of the original members of the Boston Patriots in 1960 and a member of the team's Hall of Fame, died on Thursday, the team announced. He was 89 years old. The cause of death was not revealed, but the New England Patriots announced that Cappelletti died at home with his family.
"My heart aches after learning of Gino Cappelletti's passing this morning," Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement. "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.
Former Patriots WR/K Gino Cappelletti, the 1964 AFL MVP and AFL all-time leading scorer, has passed away at the age of 89.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 12, 2022
A franchise legend whose career extended beyond the field as a Patriots assistant coach and then a longtime stint in their broadcast booth. RIP. pic.twitter.com/1yyi1fKvM1
"The Patriots have had many iconic, fan-favorite players over the years. Gino was the first. I remember watching him play in 1960 and throughout his career. He was one of the AFL's biggest stars, becoming the first Patriots player to earn league MVP honors and retiring as the league's all-time leading scorer. He became the second player in franchise history to earn Patriots Hall of Fame induction and I will always believe he deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame."
Cappelletti, who was a wide receiver and kicker, spent his entire career with the Patriots (1960-1970) and is AFL's all-time leading scorer. He led the AFL in scoring five times and was named AFL MVP in 1964 after making 25 field goals and catching 49 passes for 865 yards and seven touchdowns. Cappelletti was selected to the All-Star team five times and All-AFL Second Team four times. He was one of just three players to play in every game in the AFL's 10-year history, along with Jim Otto and George Blanda. Cappelletti was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1992 and his No. 20 was retired. He finished his career with 1,100 points and 170 field goals.
"As great of a player as he was, he was an even better person and storyteller," Kraft said. "On behalf of my family and the entire Patriots organization, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Gino's wife, Sandy, their three daughters, Gina, Cara and Christina, and their 10 grandchildren, as well as the many others who will be mourning his loss."