SHIRLEY, Mass. (CBSDFW/AP) – Former NFL player and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez killed himself in prison overnight, corrections authorities said early Wednesday.
A corrections spokesperson says 27-year-old Hernandez was found hanged in his cell just after 3:00 a.m. Authorities tried to revive the former NFL tight end, and he was pronounced dead at UMass Memorial – HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster at 4:07 a.m.
The Massachusetts Department of Correction issued a statement that said:
“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. Mr. Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population housing unit. 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.”
Correction Department spokesman Christopher Fallon said he was not aware of any suicide note. He said officials had no reason to believe Hernandez might take his life, and if they had had any such worries, he would have been transferred to a mental health unit.
It was just four days ago when the former New England Patriots star, who is already serving a life sentence for a 2013 murder, was acquitted in a 2012 double slaying that prosecutors said was fueled by his anger over a spilled drink.
Hernandez wept quietly as the verdicts were read. The jury found him not guilty of first-degree murder in the killings, but convicted him of unlawful possession of a gun.
Despite helping the University of Florida win the 2008 NCAA championship, Hernandez dropped to the fourth round of the NFL draft because of misbehavior in college.
But he was a productive tight end for the Patriots for three seasons, catching 79 passes for 910 yards and seven touchdowns in his second year to help the team reach the Super Bowl. In 2012, he signed a five-year, $40 million contract extension.
Two years later, Hernandez was unable to even watch his former team play on television while he was in prison awaiting trial in one shooting and already a suspect in another.
The team released him in June 2013, shortly after he was arrested in the killing of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee. He was convicted and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
The Worcester County district attorney’s office and the Correction Department are investigating the death.
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(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)