Aaron Hernandez, the former Florida tight end later convicted of murder, was found dead in a Massachusetts prison early Wednesday in an apparent suicide.
Hernandez, whose troubles took him from a national championship on the field to a murder conviction in New England, was found hanged in his cell just after 3 a.m. early Wednesday in Shirley, Massachusetts. He was 27.
The Massachusetts Department of Corrections released a statement on Hernandez’s death.
Serving a life sentence for murder, Aaron Hernandez has hanged himself, per Mass Dept of Corrections. pic.twitter.com/NmnwMkt2kK
— Michele Steele (@ESPNMichele) April 19, 2017
Hernandez won a national title at Florida in 2008 and earned the John Mackey Award as the top tight end in college football in 2009. Hernandez led the Gators in receptions that year, and his 68 catches still ranks in the top 10 in UF history.
A fourth-round draft pick of the New England Patriots in 2010, Hernandez reached the Super Bowl the following year and soon formed a dynamic tight end duo alongside All-Pro Rob Gronkowski. But Hernandez, who had been involved in several off-field incidents while in Gainesville, soon got into far bigger trouble in his native New England.
In June 2013, he was arrested and charged with murder in connection with the death of a friend, Odin Lloyd. Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder in April 2015 and sentenced to life in prison.
Hernandez subsequently was tried for two additional counts of murder in a separate case from 2012, but was acquitted of those charges last week.
Following his 2013 arrest, the Florida athletic program erased many of its links to Hernandez, removing a brick recognizing his All-American season from the Swamp and also removing multiple photographs of him from the team’s facilities.
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.