February 22, 2012— -- Tom Martinez, the man credited for grooming New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his NFL career, died of a heart attack while undergoing dialysis Tuesday on his 66th birthday.
The retired football coach, had been awaiting a kidney transplant for two years, but he had not succeeded in finding a donor. Three months ago, Martinez's doctors told him he had mere months left to live.
"I've been told I'm out of here, and I don't accept that," Martinez told ABC News in January. "I'm going to fight to the end."
Martinez's wife, Olivia, had dropped him off at the Satellitte Dialysis Center in Redwood City, Calif., for a routine appointment. Shortly after, she was called back to the center and was told by staff members that her husband had had a heart attack.
Martinez told ABC News in January that if there was ever a key to success on the field, it's this: Don't quit.
"I tell the kids I don't care who it is, I don't care where we go, I don't care where we play, we don't whine about officials' calls, we don't whine about weather conditions," said Martinez. "You play hard and you play right to the end."
Brady adopted that no-quit attitude to help his longtime mentor Martinez connect with a donor.
Brady spread the word through a banner he circulated online over the past month through MatchingDonor.com, a nonprofit organization that helps interested living organ donors find those who need transplants.
"We don't like to promote one person or another," Dr. Jeremiah Lowney, medical director at MatchingDonor.com, told ABC News in January. "If Tom Martinez is helping people get to this site, then that's great."
Martinez started coaching Brady when he was a 13-year-old at a quarterback football camp Martinez ran at the College of San Mateo in California, and the relationship lasted through Brady's NFL career.
"He's one of the fiercest competitors I have ever known," said Martinez. "He wants to do things 100 percent."
But Brady and Martinez's relationship was better than a great throw.
"He obviously is the summation of everything you attempt to teach," Martinez said.