Sporting News via Getty David Patten
Former pro football player David Patten, a three-time Super Bowl champion, has died. He was 47.
The athlete died on Thursday in a motorcycle crash in South Carolina, the Boston Globe reported Friday.
Patten was riding his 2006 Kawasaki motorcycle in the westbound lane on Clemson Road in Richland County at 9:35 p.m. when he crossed into the oncoming lane and hit a 2014 Chevrolet sedan, which then hit a 2019 Honda van, the South Carolina Highway Patrol confirmed to PEOPLE.
The driver of the Chevrolet was injured in the crash and taken to a local hospital, while the two passengers in the Honda were uninjured. Patten sustained fatal injuries in the crash.
Further details about the accident, which is still under investigation, have not been released.
NFL via Getty David Patten
RELATED: Celebrities Who’ve Died in 2021
Patten’s death is being felt throughout the football community, and several of his former coaches and teammates have spoken out in their heartbreak.
“It breaks my heart to hear of David’s tragic passing at such a young age,” said Bill Belichick, the New England Patriots head coach.
In addition to spending seasons with the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, Washington and New Orleans Saints, Patten played for New England from 2001 to 2004. He retired as a Patriot in 2010.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE‘s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
“I am grateful to have coached David. He is an essential person and player in Patriots history, without whom we would not have been Super Bowl champions,” Belichick said in his statement. “I especially appreciate David for his professional journey. As much as anyone, David epitomized the unheralded, self-made player who defied enormous odds to not only earn a job in the NFL but to become a key player on multiple championship teams.”
Tom Brady/Instagram Tom Brady’s David Patten tribute
“I can speak for anyone who had the pleasure to be around David that his work ethic, positive energy and character were elite,” Belichick said. “My deepest condolences are with his family and loved ones.”
Patten was an integral member of the team that led the Patriots to win its first-ever Super Bowl in 2002 against the Rams. He helped clinch the game with an eight-yard touchdown reception from Tom Brady in the second quarter.
Brady shared a tribute to the wide receiver on his Instagram Story Friday, writing, “The consummate professional. RIP my friend. My love goes out to David’s family.”
Patten’s former teammates Richard Seymour and Deion Branch also shared tributes on social media Friday.
“Great Player, but Most of All A Great Man, Mentor and Brother #LoveYou#ChiefChief,” Branch wrote, sharing a tweet from Seymour that read, “heartbroken 💔 great man of God… lost for words – David Patten… 🙏 “