Massachusetts authorities on Thursday confirmed their initial determination that Aaron Hernandez committed suicide by hanging himself in his prison cell.
The former New England Patriots tight end's death on Wednesday was officially ruled a suicide, according to a joint statement by the Worcester County District Attorney, the superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, and the state's Superintendent of Public Safety.
The state's chief medical examiner, Dr. Henry N. Nields, performed an autopsy on Hernandez on Wednesday and determined the cause of death was asphyxia by hanging, the release said.
Some people close to Hernandez had questioned the circumstances of his death, with his former agent Brian Murphy writing on Twitter that there was "absolutely no chance he took his own life."
Hernandez's most recent attorney, Jose Baez, also floated the notion that the 27-year-old might have been murdered by a guard or another inmate and called for an investigation on behalf of the Hernandez family.
Thursday's release addressed several points of speculation directly, saying Hernandez was locked in his cell around 8pm on Tuesday and "no one entered the cell until a correction officer observed him at 3:03am. and forced his way through the impeded door to render aid."
That officer had to force his way in, the report said, because cardboard had been jammed into the door tracks "to impede entry into the cell."
"There were no signs of a struggle, and investigators determined that Mr. Hernandez was alone at the time of the hanging," the statement said.
Officials said they found three handwritten notes next to a Bible in Hernandez's cell but did not disclose the contents.