Long-time Minnesota Vikings athletic trainer Fred Zamberletti died on Sunday morning at the age of 86 years old.
Zamberletti's death was announced by his family on his CaringBridge page, calling it a "joyous and sad day."
"Fred passed away peacefully this morning joining his most beloved Lord Jesus Christ and the many loved ones that have passed before him," the CaringBridge update says.
Zamberletti, born in 1932 in Melcher, Iowa, served as the Vikings' trainer from 1961 through 2003 and was on the sideline for every game in franchise history until Dec. 24, 2011.
Zamberletti's health had been deteriorating since he was admitted to a hospital for back pain on July 16, and again on Aug. 11. An MRI revealed that he had an infection called Osteomyelitis of the Spinal Bone, an infection that his family said caused him a "considerable amount of pain."
Despite the pain, Zamberletti "gives us smiles and loves to hear stories about what's happening with the Vikings," his family wrote.
Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune visited Zamberletti at Methodist Hospital on Friday and penned a beautiful tribute, noting that Vikings legendary coach Bud Grant stopped by for a tearful visit with him, in addition to Zamberletti getting a phone call from Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss.