|Tom Brady with Tom Martinez (MatchingDonors.com)|
Tom Martinez, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's longtime mentor, has died after suffering a heart attack during a dialysis session, Boston's WCVB reported Tuesday evening.
Martinez had been in need of a kidney transplant for some time due to complications from diabetes. Last summer. he was given just months to live, but in January 2012, he told ABC News, "I've been told I'm out of here, and I don't accept that. I'm going to fight to the end."
Brady, a first-ballot Hall of Famer when his career is over, has spoken often about Martinez' impact on his game.
"I've been so fortunate to be kind of his student that would take all this information and hopefully pass it on to the next generation of young quarterbacks that want to learn the proper ways to throw the football," Brady told CBS in November. "Without Tom Martinez, Tom Brady would not have been the quarterback of the New England Patriots," he said.
Brady worked with Martinez before the start of the 2011 season. The two watched film and Martinez tweaked Brady's mechanics during on-field throwing sessions, something he's been doing since Brady's prep days.
”He asked me to come out, right before the season started. Labor Day weekend,” Martinez told the Boston Herald's Ian Rapoport back in September. ”He said he was off. His throwing was off. So I went out there Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. We went through the film. Then all of a sudden, everything else fell into place. Within about an hour, he was back to the old Tom Brady. Then he had that 517 yard game [against the Dolphins in Week 1]. I guess what we did worked.”
Brady had used his celebrity (through Facebook and by teaming up with Matching Donors) to help raise awareness about Martinez' condition in the hopes that a donor would be found.
“What he is giving me is an opportunity to live longer, so I can’t thank him enough, "Martinez said weeks before Brady played in Super Bowl XLVI. "Yet we have the kind of relationship where we don’t have to thank each other,” Martinez said. “It is understood that there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for him and there is nothing he probably wouldn’t do for me.”
Brady released a statement on his Facebook page Wednesday (via WEEI.com).
”I am deeply saddened by the passing of my coach, mentor and friend. Coach Martinez’s invaluable assistance and support will never be forgotten and will always have a lasting impact on my life. The time we spent together remain some of my fondest memories. His legacy of commitment, toughness and determination will live on forever.”
Martinez was 66.
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