Former New England Revolution broadcaster and assistant coach Paul Mariner died Friday after battling brain cancer, his family announced. He was 68.
The Mariner family released a statement on Twitter, writing in part, "We regretfully inform you that Paul passed away peacefully on the 9th of July surrounded by his family, after a brief battle with brain cancer."
"Paul lived a full life and was fortunate enough to represent a group of fantastic football clubs as well as his county, all of which meant the world to him," the statement went on to say. "Anyone who knew Paul will attest to his fantastic sense of humour, his passion for life and for his work. He will be sorely missed by everyone who was ever around him and by those most close to him."
The Mariner family also thanked all the people who came to see him through his illness for their support and for the messages that were sent to him.
"They meant a great deal to him and us," the family said.
A native of England, the striker represented his country in the the 1980 European Championship and 1982 World Cup, scoring 13 goals in 35 appearances for England.
Following his playing days with clubs like Arsenal, Ipswich Town, Plymouth Argyle and Portsmouth, Mariner went on to coach in the United States. He was an assistant coach under Steve Nicol at the New England Revolution from 2004 through 2009. During that time, he helped the team reach three straight Major League Soccer Cup finals (2005-07).
Mariner rejoined the Revolution in 2014 as a color commentator and was in that role alongside longtime play-by-play announcer Brad Feldman for six years.
"Football hero, giant personality, heart of a champion, and also just a great guy," Feldman shared on Twitter Saturday. "My partner in the booth for 6+ years, road game companion for more than double that time, I’ll miss him terribly."
The New England Revolution also paid tribute to Mariner on social media Saturday, saying they were heartbroken by his death.
"Our hearts are broken," the team said on Twitter. "Paul is a true legend of our club who had a profound impact on who we are - both on and off the field. Our thoughts are with his family and friends."
Former Revs players Taylor Twellman and Charlie Davies were among those in the MLS world to share their heartfelt reactions online, saying Mariner was more than a coach to them -- he was their friend.
"I feel so fortunate to call him a friend and most importantly knowing his pain is gone," Twellman wrote on Twitter. "RIP Paul!!! We love you."
For his part, Davies wrote, "Paul coached me as a youth, mentored me throughout my life, and was a true friend. I have a tremendous amount of respect for what he brought to the game but more importantly his ability to always lift a room. I’ll miss you. Rest In Peace."