Legendary Boston College quarterback and longtime NFL player Doug Flutie lost both his parents Wednesday morning.
Flutie said his father, Dick, died of a heart attack in the hospital following an illness. Less than an hour later, his mother, Joan, also suffered a heart attack, Flutie said.
"They say you can die from a broken heart and I believe it," Flutie said in a statement. "The most important part of their 56 years of marriage was providing opportunities to their children. They were incredible parents and grandparents and my family and I will miss them both."
"They have been together for so long that I think the shock of it all when he passed - I'd assume that that's where she wants to be, too," said Jill Cukier Pappalardo, who was a high school classmate with Doug Flutie.
Most of the Flutie family, including Doug, has moved down to Florida, but the family's legacy remains strong in Natick, Massachusetts, where they lived for many years.
"It was sad, shocking," said one Natick resident.
"I used to see them around the local restaurants," said another. "Mostly Doug."
There were nothing but kind words for the family, including at Agostino's Restaurant, where the family were regulars.
"They were very nice, great family," said one long-time waitress.
The announcement went viral on social media with messages of condolences.
"our hearts go out to the Flutie family, all of whom are in our prayers," Boston College announced in a statement.
The New England Patriots also responded.
"Sending thoughts and prayers to former Patriots QB and New England football icon," the team stated.
Patriots owner Bob Kraft released his own statement.
“My heart breaks for Doug Flutie and the entire Flutie family," he wrote. "It is hard enough to cope with the loss of one parent. I can’t imagine losing both parents on the same day. I know that the Flutie family will be in the thoughts and prayers of their many fans throughout the country, especially all of those here in New England."
Flutie's NFL career was sporadic, withhin playing 92 games and starting 66 between 1986 and 2005. During that time, he played with the Bears, Patriots, Bills and Chargers. During a long NFL hiatus, he played in the Canadian Football League from 1990-97, being inducted into both the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.
The quarterback is best known for his time at Boston College, during which he received the Heisman Trophy and other accolades. He threw for an astounding 10,759 yards and 70 touchdowns in four years.