Apr 24, 2016 4:30 PM

Former Patriots defensive tackle Ron Brace dead at 29

FOXBOROUGH - The New England Patriots have confirmed that former defensive tackle Ron Brace has died at the age of 29. said the cause of death has not been released. Brace was a Springfield, Mass. native and played for Boston College.

A 6-foot-3, 330-pound nose tackle, Brace was selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He played in 39 career games with the Pats before he was released in December 2012. He signed with Washington in 2013, but did not make it through final cuts.

Brace, who played his college ball at Boston College, grew up in Springfield and attended Burncoat High School in Worcester, where he earned All-State honors in football and track and field.

Friends and family members wrote tribute posts on social media Sunday to honor Brace's life.

Al Washington, who played defensive tackle at Boston College from 2002-05 and now works on the coaching staff, posted this note to Twitter "Words cannot express how deeply saddened I am at the loss of my teammate my friend and my brother Ron Brace. Just two weeks ago we connected when you expressed interest in becoming a coach. It pains me to think about all the lives you would have impacted and changed for the better."

Former Boston College running back A.J. Brooks wrote on Facebook: "Just got a call that God has called one of my brothers home with him. Ron Brace was one of us, he was a goodfella and this definitely hurts. 2004 we all came into BC together and we'll always be connected. Prayers go out to the Brace family. Cherish each day God has given you on this earth because you never know when it's your last. Rest easy big guy."

Brace was active in the Springfield community throughout his professional career. In 2011, he hosted a charity event to aid Springfield's tornado relief efforts. Brace is the third former Patriot to die this year. Fullback Kevin Turner, 46, who suffered from ALS, and defensive end Julius Adams, 67, also passed.

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