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Mark Wahlberg misses team's Super Bowl comeback as son falls ill

Mark Wahlberg's son fell ill during the Super Bowl on Sunday (05Feb17), meaning the actor had to make an early exit from the game.

Mark Wahlberg missed the New England Patriots' epic comeback at the Super Bowl on Sunday (05Feb17), as he had to leave early when his youngest son fell ill.

The 45-year-old actor was in the crowd to watch his beloved team take on the Atlanta Falcons as they vied for the NFL (National Football League) championship title.

However, Mark was seen leaving the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, with his sons after the third quarter - before the Patriots came back from 25 points down and sealed their win in overtime.

His early exit led to some criticism from fans on social media, so the Deepwater Horizon star took to his Instagram page to clarify the reasons for his departure.

Alongside a snap of himself with model wife Rhea Durham and the pair's sons Michael and Brendan, Mark wrote: "I had to leave the game early because my youngest wasn't feeling well. Trust me, I would have loved to be at the stadium - but family first. Doesn't mean I don't love my Patriots too!"

Wahlberg has long been a fan of the New England Patriots, and was quick to defend quarterback Tom Brady after the "Deflategate" scandal - when the sportsman was suspended for four games in the 2015 season due to his alleged part in the scandal which involved claims the Patriots deliberately used underinflated footballs during their American Football Conference (AFC) Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts on in January, 2015.

Defending Brady after the incident, Wahlberg said: "A great American hero. A cultural icon. The greatest quarterback in the history of the game. He will go on to probably win at least two more Super Bowls, the only quarterback to ever win 6, appear in 8.”

Wahlberg's prediction was correct as Brady enjoyed a huge comeback to lead the Patriots to victory on Sunday (05Feb17) and took home his fourth Super Bowl MVP (Most Valuable Player) award at the game.

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