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Pio Sagapolutele dies at 39

By Marla Ridenour Published: June 9, 2009

Former Browns defensive lineman Pio Sagapolutele died Sunday at age 39 from a brain aneurysm, according to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Sagapolutele had been living in Phoenix for the past few months with his wife Yvonne and four children, the Star-Bulletin said.

Yvonne Sagapolutele told the Star-Bulletin that her husband was stricken Friday. She said he had been in good health.

"It was something that can happen to anyone, you never know," she told the Star-Bulletin. "He complained about headaches for a couple of days, and then he was unconscious. (Medical personnel) were able to revive him briefly, but he was unresponsive."

A fourth-round draft pick of the Browns in 1991, the Hawaiian-born Sagapolutele played five seasons for the Browns before joining Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots in 1996. Belichick was assistant head coach under Bill Parcells in '96 as New England reached the Super Bowl and lost to the Green Bay Packers.

The 6-foot-6, 297-pound Sagapolutele finished his career with the New Orleans Saints in 1997.

"I am very sad to hear the news about Pio,'' Patriots coach Belichick said in a statement released by the team. “When we drafted him as part of our first draft class in Cleveland, we saw a tough, hard-working, dependable player and that is exactly what Pio brought to his teams on a daily and yearly basis. He was a quiet leader and a significant contributor to the record-setting Browns defense in 1994 and then again with the Patriots '96 AFC Championship season. My prayers are with Yvonne and the entire Sagapolutele family."

Sagapolutele started 11 of 63 games for the Browns. He is also survived by nine brothers and sisters, according to the Star-Bulletin.

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