Former New England Patriots football star Aaron Hernandez hanged himself in the jail cell where he was serving a life sentence for murder, just days after being acquitted of a second murder charge, state prison officials said on Wednesday.
Hernandez, 27, was found by guards in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley just after 3 a.m., Department of Correction spokesman Christopher Fallon said in a statement.
Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population housing unit in the maximum security state prison. He hanged himself using a bed sheet that he attached to a cell window, Fallon said. Hernandez also tried to block the cell door from the inside by jamming the door with various items, Fallon said.
The former Patriots' tight end was pronounced dead at UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster about an hour later.
Fallon said he's not aware of any suicide note written by Hernandez and stressed that an investigation is ongoing.
Hernandez was a rising star in the National Football League when he was arrested in June 2013 and accused of murdering an acquaintance near his Massachusetts home. He was convicted of that killing and sentenced to life in prison in 2015, but on Friday he was found not guilty of a 2012 double murder.
Hernandez was moved to tears on Friday after he was acquitted of the 2012 fatal shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston. After that trial ended, Hernandez was expected to appeal his sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole for Lloyd's killing.
Just before his acquittal, Hernandez was seen blowing kisses to the little girl he fathered with fiancee Shayanna Jenkins.
Hernandez's death comes the same day the Patriots are making their visit to the White House today to mark their Super Bowl win.
Team spokesman Stacey James said the Patriots were aware of the reports of Hernandez's death but didn't anticipate the club commenting Wednesday.
Source: Massachusetts Department of Corrections · Photo Credit: The Football Feed