Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, 27, committed suicide sometime overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, authorities in Massachusetts have confirmed.
Hernandez, acquitted in a double murder trial only last week, was found hanging in his cell at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Mass., shortly after 3:05 a.m. ET Wednesday and was pronounced dead about an hour later.
The Massachusetts Department of Corrections released the following statement early Wednesday morning:
On April 19, 2017 Aaron Hernandez was discovered hanging in his cell by corrections officers at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley Massachusetts at approximately 3:05 a.m., lifesaving techniques were attempted on Mr. Hernandez and he was transported to UMASS Leominster where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m. by a physician at the hospital. Mr. Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population housing. Mr. Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bed sheet 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. The Massachusetts State Police are on scene and the investigation continues. Mr. Hernandez's next of kin have been notified.
Hernandez was already serving a life sentence for first-degree murder in the death of Odin L. Lloyd in June 2013.
But he wasacquitted last week in his double-murder trial in Suffolk (Mass.) Superior Court, where he had pleaded not guilty to killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in a drive-by shooting in Boston’s South End early July 16, 2012.
Prosecutors contended Hernandez fired into their car because he felt disrespected when one of the men bumped into him and spilled his drink at a Boston club.
A member of a national championship team at Florida, he earned consensus All-America honors in 2009. He entered the 2010 NFL draft after his junior year, and the Patriots took him in the fourth round.
In three seasons from 2010-12 with the Patriots, Hernandez had 175 catches for 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns. But his career soon was sidetracked by off-the-field issues.
He was releasedby the Patriots in June 2013 immediately after his arrest for the first-degree murder of Lloyd, for which he was convicted in 2015.