Multiple media outlets are reporting former NFL star and convicted killer Aaron Hernandez committed suicide in prison Wednesday morning. He was 27.
According to a statement for the DOC, the former New England Patriot star was found at 3:05 a.m. hanging in his cell at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts.
“Mr. Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population unit,” said a statement in the Boston Globe. “Mr. Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bedsheet that he attached to his cell window. Mr. Hernandez also attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming the door with various items.”
State Police are investigating and his family has been notified.
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WESH in Florida reported lifesaving techniques were attempted on Hernandez, and he was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m.
According to Aimee Ortiz and John R. Ellement of the Boston Globe, no suicide note has been found, and Massachusetts DOC spokesman Christopher Fallon revealed Hernandez was not on suicide watch.
Hernandez played college football for the University of Florida where he was a member of a national championship team and was recognized as an all-American. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2010 and released after he was arrested in 2013 in connection with the death of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd.
He was serving a life sentence in the killing of Loyd. Hernandez was found not guilty last week of first-degree murder in the 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. He was not charged in those deaths until 2014.
“Hernandez’s death ends a stunning fall from the golden life of a star athlete and comes on a day when the Patriots are visiting the White House to celebrate their victory in Super Bowl LI,” wrote the Washington Post Wednesday morning.
TMZ.com reported in April 2015 that Hernandez was placed on suicide watch for a time, after prison officials feared he might kill himself, shortly after he was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his fiancee's sister's boyfriend in 2013.
The TMZ story did not specify what prompted the move by officials, but the report points out that it is not an uncommon move by prisons, especially when an inmate was recently handed a long sentence.