Ex-NFL star Russ Francis dies in a plane crash at the Lake Placid Airport
Russ Francis was a star player for San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots.
Former NFL star Russ Francis died at the age of 70 years in a plane crash on Sunday. The crash happened at the Lake Placid Airport in New York on Sunday afternoon. Francis was flying in a Cessna 177 Cardinal aircraft piloted by Richard McSpadden, who also died in the crash. Francis was a star player for San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots.
Francis' star-studded career was filled with several remarkable achievements. He was a two-time All-Pro, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, a member of the Patriots all-decade team (1970s) and a member of the Patriots 35th Anniversary Team.
Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft gave a heartfelt tribute to Francis, highlighting his exemplary qualities as a player and as a human being.
"On behalf of the entire New England Patriots organization, we extend our sincerest sympathies to the family of Russ Francis, who tragically passed away yesterday," Kraft said in a statement.
"Russ was a fan favorite throughout his playing career. He was a dynamic player on the field who had an even bigger personality off it. 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," added Kraft.
Francis's younger brother Ed Francis also paid a touching tribute to him.
"My older brother Russ Francis was just killed in a plane crash in Lake Placid, New York. Needless to say, my family and I are completely flattened. Flying was my brother's lifelong passion, and perhaps a fitting way for him to go. God speed to you my big brother!!," wrote Ed Francis.
After retiring as a player in 1980, Francis worked as a commentator for ABC Sports for one year. But in 1982, he came out of retirement and joined the 49ers. He played six seasons for San Francisco and won a Super Bowl following the 1984 season.