Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was found hanged by a bed sheet in his jail cell early Wednesday, according to the Massachusetts Department of Corrections.
Hernandez, 27, was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, according to a statement released by the DOC.
"On April 19, 2017 Aaron Hernandez was discovered hanging 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. 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."
An autopsy will be performed in Boston to determine the "cause and manner of death", according to a statement released by Worcester County DA Joseph Early.
The statement says, Hernandez "was found unresponsive in his cell shortly after 3 a.m. today. He was brought to UMass-Memorial Health Alliance Hospital in Leominster where he was pronounced dead about an hour later."
Hernandez was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.
Last Friday, Hernandez was found not guilty for the double murder of two men on a Boston street in 2012.
Hernandez was at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Mass, at the time of his death. He was found guilty in April 2015 of first-degree murder in the death of Lloyd two years prior. Lloyd, a former friend who dated the sister of Hernandez’s longtime fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, was shot several times by the same kind of gun security footage showed Hernandez possessed.
Investigators began to probe the deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado after Hernandez was charged in the Lloyd case. Abreu and Furtado were killed a vehicle after leaving a Boston nightclub in July 2012, weeks before Hernandez reported to Patriots camp ahead of his third and final season with the Patriots.
Hernandez, prosecutors claimed at the trial, became upset after Abreu and Furtado after they bumped into Hernandez at the nightclub. A jury, however, found Hernandez not guilty on murder charge Friday after six days of deliberations. Hernandez was convicted of an unlawful gun possession charge.
After the verdicts were read, Hernandez turned to Jenkins and mouthed, "I love you."
"I am very, very happy" Jenkins told reporters as she exited court.
Hernandez and Jenkins have a 4-year-old daughter, Avielle Janelle Hernandez.
His former agent, Brian Murphy tweeted: "Absolutely no chance he took his own life. Chico was not a saint, but my family and I loved him and he would never take his own life."
Hernandez, who grew up in Bristol, Conn, played with the Patriots from 2010-2012.
"We are aware of the reports, but I don’t anticipate that we will be commenting today," Patriots spokesman Stacey James said Wednesday.
Members of the Patriots are scheduled to be honored at the White House on Wednesday for their Super Bowl LI victory over Atlanta.