Patriots equipment manager Don Brocher dies

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Don Brocher, the longest serving employee in New England Patriots history, has died after a season-long battle with leukemia.

The team announced that equipment manager Brocher died early Tuesday. He was 60.

Brocher had worked for the Patriots for 41 years.

The Boston native and longtime Norton resident began as a ball boy on the equipment manager's staff in 1972. He was promoted to equipment manager in February 1994, shortly after Robert Kraft bought the team.

When the Patriots traveled to Tampa in August for a preseason game, Brocher stayed behind. It was the first Patriots game he had missed in 40 years, a streak of 834 consecutive games.

Kraft said everyone in the organization had a "heavy heart" after learning of Brocher's death.

An informal memorial service and reception is planned Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

-- AP

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