Courtesy Doug Flutie
November 18, 2015 11:30 PM

Former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie has paid an emotional tribute to his parents, who he revealed died just an hour apart from one another after they both suffered heart attacks.

On Wednesday morning, Flutie’s parents Richard and Joan Flutie – who had been married for 56 years – died. Flutie took to his Facebook to announce the news in a heartfelt tribute to his parents.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am making this statement,” he began. “This morning my family experienced the tragic loss of my father, Dick and mother, Joan. My Dad had been ill and died of a heart attack in the hospital and my Mom, less than an hour later had a sudden heart attack and passed away.”

Doug Flutie
NBC/Getty

“They say you can die of a broken heart and I believe it. I would like to honor my parents for all that they did throughout my and my brothers and sister s lives.”

Scientists and doctors have long debated whether Broken Heart Syndrome is a real condition, with many arguing that it is. Johns Hopkins Hospital researchers published a 2005 study in the New England Journal of Medicine that many factors, including stress, can trigger the syndrome.

Flutie, 53, played for the New England Patriots from 1987 to 1989. He is known for his famous Hail Mary pass that won him a 1984 game against Miami.

His parents also leave behind three other children, including his brother Darren Flutie, 49, a former Canadian football wide receiver.

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