Former Dallas Cowboys special teams coach & assistant Joe Avezzano has died of a heart attack in Italy.

Joe Avezzano, who had won three Super Bowl championships as the Dallas Cowboys special teams coach, died Thursday at age 68.

Avezzano reportedly was on a treadmill in Italy when he suffered a heart attack. He had recently been named head coach of the Milano Seamen of the Italian Football League.

Avezzano worked for the Cowboys from 1990-2002. A three-time special teams coach of the year, Avezzano wasn't retained when Bill Parcells became head coach in 2003.

"Joe Avezzano was a very special part of our Dallas Cowboys family and our organization's history," said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. "He was also a wonderful father, husband and friend. No one enjoyed life more than Joe, and no one that I know had a greater appreciation for the people that he loved and the lives that he touched. We grieve with Diann and Tony and the thousands of fans who loved Coach Joe. He was an original. There was no one else like him."

 

Statement from Chris Boniol on the passing of Joe Avezzano:

 “Joe loved being a Dallas Cowboy, and he cared an awful lot about being part of this organization.  He also cared a great deal about having his players be as prepared as possible to do their job.  He had a very high standard for performance and production from his players.  He was also entertaining and could coach with a sense of humor.  He was unique in that he could bring humor into the meeting room without having it affect his authority.  He made it fun to play for him, but he always demanded respect.”