For generations of sports fans, Gil Santos was “the voice of New England.”
His resume features 36 years as the radio play-by-play voice of the New England Patriots NFL club, and 38 years delivering sports reports at :15 and :45 past the hour on WBZ-AM 1030.
Santos was also known for his play-by-play alongside Bob Cousy for the Boston Celtics NBA team, and for Boston College and Penn State football. He also lent his voice to the Boston Marathon.
Santos died Thursday at the age of 80. Santos death came as Gil and his wife Roberta celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary, and his birthday.
Santos began his Patriots broadcasting career in 1966, first as a color analyst and then as play-by-play announcer. He retired in 2013 and was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.
In all, he called 745 Patriots games on the radio, including three Super Bowl victories.
Along with Gino Cappelletti, Santos was part of the longest-tenured broadcasting duo in modern NFL history, with the two working in tandem for 28 seasons, CBS Boston reports.
In a statement, Patriots Chairman/CEO Robert Kraft said, “For generations of Patriots fans, Gil Santos was and forever will be known as the ‘Voice of the Patriots’ … 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. It was my privilege to honor Gil with his induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2013. His legacy and most memorable calls will live there for future generations of Patriots fans to enjoy. On behalf of the entire Patriots organization, we extend our sincerest sympathies to Roberta, his daughter Kathleen, his son Mark and the many others who are mourning his loss.”