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Former Saints fullback, radio announcer Hokie Gajan dies

New Orleans Saints v San Francisco 49ers

SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 29: Running back Hokie Gajan #46 of the New Orleans Saints finds room to run against the San Francisco 49ers defense during a game at Candlestick Park on September 29, 1985 in San Francisco, California. The Saints won 20-17. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

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The Saints, already shocked by the weekend shooting death of defensive end Will Smith, now have another funeral to prepare for.

Former Saints fullback and radio analyst Hokie Gajan passed away last night after a battle with cancer at age 56, according to Evan Woodbery of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Gajan was diagnosed with a rare cancer known as liposarcoma that took him out of the radio booth last season.

Gajan was beloved for many reasons in New Orleans, primarily because he was one of their own. The LSU product was nicknamed the “Bayou Bowling Ball,” and was a productive rusher in his own right, averaging 6.0 yards per carry in 1984 while sharing the backfield with Heisman winners George Rogers and Earl Campbell.

Injuries shortened his playing career, but he transitioned to a job in the team’s scouting department before joining their radio broadcast in 2000.

Our thoughts are with the Gajan family as well as the Saints, as they endure two very different losses, each painful.