Former NFL tight-end Aaron Hernandez – who was serving a life sentence for a murder conviction and was just acquitted of a double murder – hanged himself in his prison cell in Massachusetts, prison officials said.
The 27-year-old former New England Patriot was found 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. He apparently hung himself with his bed sheet.
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.
He tried to block the cell door from the inside by jamming the door with various items, Fallon said.
There is no evidence of any suicide note written by Hernandez, but an investigation is ongoing. Fallon said that officials had no concern that Hernandez was planning on taking his own life, and if there was a concern about his well-being, Hernandez would have been transferred to a mental health unit.
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. Just before his acquittal, Hernandez was seen blowing kisses to the little girl he fathered with fiancée Shayanna Jenkins. Cameras captured the tender exchange.
But, Hernandez was still serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for his conviction in the 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancée’s sister.
Hernandez’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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.
Massachusetts State Police remain on the scene investigating the death.
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