Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti, a member of the Miami Dolphins during that team's undefeated 1972 season, died, a spokesman for his family said Wednesday.
He was 78.
Buoniconti spent 15 years in the NFL playing with the Dolphins and the Boston Patriots between 1962 and 1976. He won two Super Bowls, was named to the Pro Bowl eight times and was an All-Pro selection five times.
After he retired, Buoniconti and his son Marc raised more than a half-billion dollars in the search for a cure for paralysis. Marc was paralyzed from the shoulders down making a tackle in 1985 playing for The Citadel.
Marc Buoniconti remembered his father as his hero.
“Today, with a heavy heart and profound sorrow, my family and the entire Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and Buoniconti Fund community mourn the loss of a man who was truly larger than life, my father, NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti,” he said in a statement. “My dad has been my hero and represents what I have always aspired to be; a leader, a mentor and a champion.”
Bruce Bobbins, a family spokesman, said Nick Buoniconti died in Bridgehampton, New York, on Tuesday. The cause of death was not immediately known.
After he retired, Buoniconti worked as an attorney, as president of U.S. tobacco and an agent to athletes such as Bucky Dent and Baseball Hall of Famer Andre Dawson.
He struggled with symptoms of CTE after he retired and vowed to donate his brain to CTE research when he died, according to ESPN. In May, it was revealed he was struggling with memory loss and couldn’t use his left hand to put on a shirt, among other ailments.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.