Rehbein, 46, had cardiomyopathy, a disorder of the heart muscle that was discovered in 1988. His death was caused by the heart muscle failing to squeeze while being electronically timed. Extensive resuscitation attempts were failed.
“This is a very difficult day for the New England Patriots and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing Dick Rehbein,” said Bill Belichick, the team’s coach. “Dick was the sweetest and most decent of guys, and he loved his family and his job as an NFL coach. He was recognized and admired professionally by both players and coaches, and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers will always be with the Rehbein family.
Quarterback Drew Bledsoe praised Rehbein as a fantastic family man, friend, and coach. Last season, Bledsoe had a career-low 13 interceptions while under Rehbein’s guidance.
“I think it’s obvious that we’ve suffered a tremendous loss today with the loss of Coach Rehbein,” Bledsoe said in a statement. “I believe that everybody who knew the man understands that the biggest loss is that of his wife and two daughters, because he was first and foremost a tremendous family man.
“Every time we walked into his office, he asked about our family and told us about his own. He was overjoyed that his oldest daughter was working down here at camp, allowing him to spend more time with her, which as many of you know, coaches don’t get much of.
“For me, it’s a big loss since he was a terrific friend, a decent man, and an exceptional football coach. He was the type of person who, even in difficult times, made you look forward to coming to work. And I speak for all quarterbacks when I say that we will all miss him very much.
Rehbein, a Division II All-American and four-year center starter at Ripon College in Wisconsin, began coaching as Green Bay’s special teams coach in 1979 and remained until 1983. After one season with the USFL’s Los Angeles Express in 1984, he played eight years with the Minnesota Vikings before relocating to New York in 1992.