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Russ Francis dead at 70: Cause of Death

BY Salman Ahmed Oct 02, 2023. 06:54 pm UPDATED: Oct 02, 2023. 06:54 pm

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Russ Francis, a former NFL legend, was reportedly killed in an aviation crash on Sunday near Lake Place, New York.

According to the Lake Placid News, the former 70-year-old San Francisco 49ers tight end died in the plane crash, along with the pilot.

According to the report, the crash happened around 4.09pm EST at the end of the Lake Placid getaway.

Francis had recently purchased the picturesque tour company Lake Placid Airways near the airport.

According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Richard McSpadden, the organization’s senior vice president of air safety, was also killed in the crash.

Francis and McSpadden were leaving Lake Placid Airport when the jet “experienced an emergency after takeoff.”

The plane attempted to return to the runaway but crashed near the airport in a ravine.

Russ’ death was announced on Facebook by his brother, Ed Francis.

Francis’ son’s mother also shared the news on social media, adding that the Super Bowl champion and McSpadden were longtime friends.

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“To Russ, flying was like breathing…it came naturally and he lived for it,” Kate Naiman wrote.

“He used to fly his P-51 Mustang to practice and land in the stadium parking lot and really piss off Bill Walsh.

“There will be some comfort down the road in knowing that he died doing the thing he loved most, but not today.

“Not today.”

Francis, a University of Oregon product, was drafted in the first round by the New England Patriots in 1975.

He’d been in the NFL for 14 years and made three Pro Bowls.

The former tight end was a member of the Super Bowl XIX-winning 49ers club for five seasons.

Francis had 5 catches for 60 yards in the memorable game.

He returned to the Patriots for a second time in 1987 before retiring from the NFL two seasons later.

Francis had 393 receptions for 5,262 yards and 40 touchdowns in his NFL career.

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