Peter R. Marciano, a nephew of boxing great Rocky Marciano who built his own legend as an athletic star and civic leader of Brockton, died Monday in his hometown. He was 48.
No information was available about the circumstances of Mr. Marciano's death.
Mr. Marciano had worked at the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission and served in various municipal roles in Brockton. But before that career began, he earned himself a spot in the sporting lore of a city where his uncle's reign as undefeated heavyweight champion of the world is widely celebrated.
Mr. Marciano was a star on the Brockton High School football team in the early 1980s, a stint that included scoring three touchdowns in a decisive 1984 Super Bowl victory over Lexington.
Later, Mr. Marciano would play at the University of Iowa, where he appeared with the Hawkeyes during the 1986 Rose Bowl.
Mr. Marciano was an accomplished return man and receiver for the Hawkeyes. In a video memorial for Mr. Marciano, head coach Kirk Ferentz said Mr. Marciano's contributions to the team went beyond the field of play.
"He was a guy that was really respected and beloved by his teammates and coaches," said Ferentz, who was an assistant coach when Mr. Marciano was at Iowa.
Ferentz described Mr. Marciano as a "very colorful personality, always a guy that had something interesting to do or say."
In Iowa, Mr. Marciano also shared a connection with his uncle, who died in 1969 in an Iowa plane crash. He told Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy in 1999 that he had traveled to the site of the crash when Larry Holmes was threatening to match Rocky's undefeated streak of 49 wins.
Holmes lost that night, Mr. Marciano told Shaughnessy.
"I saw the one big oak tree in the cornfield and I knelt down and said a prayer. I prayed that his record would stand forever," Mr. Marciano said. "Holmes lost the fight that night. Rocky answered my prayer."
Later, Mr. Marciano became a leader in Brockton, serving stints on the City Council and school board, according to the Brockton Enterprise.
His name is still listed as an alternate member of the city planning board.
Mayor Bill Carpenter remembered Mr. Marciano on Twitter.
"Mourning loss of my friend Peter Marciano," he said. "Words can't express the sadness I'm feeling tonite. Hope he's at peace."
Mr. Marciano was the son of Peter N. and Linda J. Marciano. He leaves a son, Peter N.; a daughter, Eliana L.; a sister, Elise J. Manning; and two brothers, Rocco F. and Stephen R.
A memorial Mass will be said at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Brockton. Burial will be private.
Andy Rosen can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @andyrosen.