Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez committed suicide by hanging himself on the same day that his former teammates are set to visit the White House in honor of their recent Super Bowl win.
Correctional officers at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center found Hernandez, 27, unresponsive in his prison cell just after 3 a.m. on April 19, according to Department of Correction spokesman Christopher Fallon, ESPN reports. He was then taken to UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 4 a.m.
"On April 19, 2017 Aaron Hernandez was discovered hanged 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," Fallon said, according to the Daily Mail.
Fallon added that Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population housing block when he used a sheet attached to his window to hang himself, according to ESPN. He had reportedly attempted to prevent anyone from entering his cell by jamming the door with a number of items. He did not leave a suicide note.
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An investigation into Hernandez's death is underway. Officials had no reason to believe Hernandez was planning to commit suicide, otherwise they would have transferred him to the prison's mental health unit.
The former Patriots tight end was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player. Lloyd was found shot to death in a Massachusetts industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez's home on June 17, 2013. Nine days later, authorities charged Hernandez with the murder, and a jury found him guilty in April 2015, according to CNN.
On April 14, Hernandez was acquitted of the shooting deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston. Prosecutors argued that the men were killed after one of them accidentally spilled a drink on Hernandez in a Boston nightclub. Hernandez was found not guilty of first-degree murder, but was convicted of unlawful possession of a gun. For that, the judge gave him an additional five years in prison.
A spokesperson for the Patriots issued a statement indicating that the team would wait before commenting on Hernandez's death.
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"We are aware of the reports, but I don't anticipate that we will be commenting today," the spokesperson said on April 19, the Daily Mail reports.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said in a statement that he would not be attending the team's April 19 celebration in light of his former teammate's death.
Hernandez is survived by his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, and their 4-year-old daughter.