Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was found dead of an apparent suicide in his prison cell at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Mass. early Wednesday morning. He was 27 years old.
According to Massachusetts Department of Corrections spokesman Christopher Fallon, Hernandez was found unreponsive in his cell by guards at 3:05 a.m. and was rushed to UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster, Mass., where he was pronounced dead just after 4 a.m.
Hernandez used a bed sheet to hang himself from a cell window and attempted to barricade his cell door closed with various objects, according to Fallon.
Fallon also said he's not aware of any suicide note written by Hernandez and that an investigation is ongoing. He said that officials had no concern that Hernandez was suicidal.
On Friday, Hernandez was acquitted of the 2012 fatal shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado after an altercation at a Boston nightclub. Hernandez was convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm in the case, and the judge sentenced Hernandez to an additional four to five years in prison. Hernandez was already serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for killing former friend Odin Lloyd in 2013.
Hernandez's death comes on the same day that the Patriots are visiting the White House to be honored for their Super Bowl LI victory over the Atlanta Falcons in February. A Patriots spokesman told ESPN on Wednesday morning that, "we are aware of the reports, but I don't anticipate that we will be commenting today."
Hernandez was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft and played with the team from 2010-2012. New England released Hernandez in June 2013 following his arrest in the Lloyd murder.