BOSTON — Retired Boston EMS Capt. Robert “Sarge” Haley, who played a key role in the Emergency Medical Services response to the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, has died at age 63.

Haley’s wife, Constance “Conni” Haley, said Sunday he died of an illness Friday at their home.

Boston Athletic Association CEO Tom Grilk tells The Boston Herald that Haley was “one of the most important people that Boston Marathon runners never heard of.”

Grilk says Haley was there to serve marathon runners and when the bombing occurred, killing three people and injuring hundreds, he helped everyone remain “focused and strong.”

EMS Chief James Hooley says Haley built the department’s special operations unit, which responds to 500 major city events each year.

Haley retired last month after 35 years on the job.

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