David Patten: Three-time Super Bowl winner with New England Patriots dies aged 47

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Tom Brady's record-breaking 21 Super Bowl touchdown passes includes this David Patten catch, which was his first.

David Patten, a three-time Super Bowl champion, died Thursday at 47.

In his native South Carolina, the former New England Patriots wide receiver was killed in a motorcycle accident.

Patten was a member of five NFL teams. He is most famous for helping Bill Belichick and the Patriots win their first three Super Bowls in 2001 and 2004.

He was the first to catch Tom Brady's post-season touchdown pass, as the Patriots defeated the St Louis Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl 35.

Patten was not drafted in 1996, but he still made it to the NFL after spending a season in the Arena Football League with the Albany Firebirds.

In 1997, he joined the New York Giants. He also played for the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints.

Belichick, who is still the Patriots coach, said that "It breaks our hearts to hear about David's tragic passing so young age."

"I am thankful to have coached David. He is an important player and person in Patriots' history. Without him, we wouldn't have been Super Bowl champs.

David's professional career is something I adore. David is a great example of the self-made, unheralded player who overcame enormous odds to earn a job with the NFL and to be a key player on several championship teams.

The 5ft 10in receiver was active in 12 NFL seasons. He caught 324 passes for 4,715 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Robert Kraft, Patriots owner, added that Kraft was a devout Christian and followed his passion after his football career. He also founded his own ministry. David transformed from an undersized, understated wide receiver into a passionate and powerful preacher.