Aaron Hernandez committed suicide early Wednesday morning at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, where he was serving a life sentence for murder.
Hernandez was a star tight end for the New England Patriots from 2010-12 but was released by the team in June 2013, after his arrest for the murder of Odin Lloyd. In college, he played for the Florida Gators, where he was an All-American and a member of the 2008 national championship team.
Hernandez was found hanging in his prison cell around 3 a.m. Wednesday. He was 27 years old.
“Mr. Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population unit,” the Massachusetts Department of Correction said in a statement (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter). “Mr. Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bedsheet 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.”
There were no signs Hernandez was suicidal, nor did he leave a suicide note, according to prison authorities.
Hernandez’s entire story is tragic and bizarre, but the timing of his suicide is ironic – he was acquitted last week of a 2012 double-murder. The net effect of that verdict, however, was pretty much nil, since Hernandez was already in prison for life for murdering Lloyd with no chance of parole.
Hernandez’s death occurred the same day his former teammates are scheduled to make the Super Bowl champion’s annual visit to the White House, the Boston Globe notes.
The Patriots long ago dissociated themselves from Hernandez, and his suicide does not appear to have prompted any sympathy.
“We are aware of the reports, but I don’t anticipate that we will be commenting today,” Patriots VP of media and community relations Stacey James wrote in an email to the Globe.
Here’s early reaction to Hernandez’s death from ESPN’s Schefter.