Wife of Patriots' owner dies of cancer

July 20, 2011 at 2:21 PM

BOSTON, July 20 (UPI) -- Myra Hiatt Kraft, the wife of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and one of New England's best-known philanthropists, died Wednesday. She was 68.

Kraft died of cancer, The Boston Globe reported.

"Words cannot express the deep sorrow that we feel in learning of the passing of Myra Hiatt Kraft," the Patriots said in an announcement. "Myra passed away early this morning after a courageous battle with cancer. We are all heartbroken. The global philanthropic community and the New England Patriots family have suffered a great loss."

The daughter of a Jewish immigrant from Lithuania who made a fortune as the owner of a packaging company, Kraft began her life as a philanthropist early. While her father was in Europe visiting refugee camps, she decided to knock on doors in her Worcester neighborhood to raise money.

She met her husband while she was a student at Brandeis.

The couple gave away millions of dollars. Kraft also served on many boards including the Boys & Girls Club of Boston, the American Repertory Theater, Brandeis, and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

"I realize that it's a privilege," Kraft said of her wealth in a 2007 interview with the Jerusalem Post. "And I don't want to abuse the privilege."

She is survived by her husband and three sons.

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