Pat's longest-tenured employee dies following battle with leukemia

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The Patriots Tuesday announced that their longest-tenured employee had died overnight Tuesday.

In a press release, team officials said Don Brocher, 60, had died following a battle with leukemia shortly after midnight.

Brocher worked for 41 seasons with the Patriots. He began as a ball boy in 1972 and was hired as a full-time as an assistant that same season. He remained a member of the team's equipment staff and was promoted to equipment manager in 1994.

Team officials said Brocher had worked 834 consecutive Patriots games when he missed a preseason game against Tampa Bay in August following his diagnosis.

Brocher was born in Nov. 23, 1952 in Boston. He and his wife Laurie lived in Norton, Mass.

"The Kraft family and the entire Patriots organization awoke with very heavy hearts this morning," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "That is when most of us learned of Don's passing. He had fought this deadly disease so valiantly all season long. We were all optimistic that he would defeat it and fully recover. He was back on our sidelines just two weeks ago for our game against the 49ers and I can't remember ever seeing him happier."