Former New England Patriots tight end Russ Francis died Sunday in a plane crash near Lake Placid, N.Y. He was 70 years old.

A first-round draft pick of the Patriots in 1975, Francis played in 92 games across two stints with New England, catching 207 passes for 3,157 yards and scoring 28 touchdowns for the franchise.

The Oregon product was one of the NFL’s premier tight ends in the late 1970s, making three consecutive Pro Bowls and earning second-team All-Pro honors in 1976 and ’78.

“We are deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of former New England Patriots tight end Russ Francis,” the Patriots said in a team statement. “Our condolences are extended to Francis’ family and friends.”

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After sitting out the 1981 season, Francis was traded to San Francisco for four draft picks, one of which the Patriots used to draft Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett. Francis played 5 1/2 seasons for the 49ers, winning a Super Bowl in 1984. He later returned to the Patriots to close out his career before retiring in 1989.

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In a statement, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Francis “was a fan favorite throughout his playing career.”

“He was a dynamic player on the field who had an even bigger personality off it,” Kraft said. “He knew no boundaries, pushed the limits and lived his life to the fullest. Our thoughts are with Russ’s family, friends, teammates and the many Patriots fans who mourn his loss.”

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Francis’ post-playing pursuits included a stint as a professional wrestler and various radio and media jobs. He had a lifelong love of aviation and recently purchased the Lake Placid Airways scenic tour business, according to the Lake Placid News.

Richard McSpadden, a former U.S. Air Force commander, also was killed in the crash, which occurred at Lake Placid Airport. The Cessna 177 Cardinal plane carrying Francis and McSpadden “experienced an emergency after takeoff” and crashed while attempting to land, according to a statement from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Featured image via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images