Former Patriots RB Tatupu dead at 54

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Former Patriots running back Mosi Tatupu died Tuesday at the age of 54, according to the Honolulu Star Bulletin .

Born in Pago Pago, American Samoa, Tatupu was a star high school running back before going to play at USC and then 13 years with the Patriots.

The cause of death is unknown, but family friend Barry Markowitz told the paper, "(Tatupa) had some health issues." Markowitz said Tatupu's ex-wife, Linnea, broke the news to him.

He was picked in the eighth round of the 1978 draft by New England.

Tatupu finished his career with 612 carries for 2,415 yards and 18 TDs and made the Pro Bowl as a special teams player in 1986.

He spent five games with the Rams in 1991 before retiring.

His son, Lofa, is a star linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks.