Aaron Hernandez reportedly found with 'John 3:16' written on his forehead

In a maximum-security prison outside Boston, about an hour from the stadium where he played alongside stars such as Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, Hernandez jammed the door to his one-man cell lest guards try to stop him and put an early end to the life-without-parole sentence he received for a 2013 murder.

BOSTON (AP) - Aaron Hernandez's death in prison - just days after the former National Football League star was cleared of additional murder charges - remains shrouded in mystery.

Why was Hernandez in prison? He said despite Hernandez's acquittal in criminal court last week, the families still plan to try to hold Hernandez accountable for the killings in civil court. Massachusetts State Police, the Worcester County District Attorney's Office and the Correction Department are investigating the death. But in reality, Hernandez's death could ultimately trigger a series of legal actions on the part of his family in the coming months and years.

Hernandez, 27, was discovered hanging in his cell by corrections officers in Shirley, Massachusetts at approximately 3:05 am (0705 GMT) Wednesday, Christopher Fallon with the Massachusetts Department of Correction said. "Those who love and care about him are heartbroken and determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death".

A MA prisons spokesman says he's not aware of any suicide note written by Aaron Hernandez before the former New England Patriots star hanged himself in his cell, but stresses that the investigation is ongoing. On Friday, a Boston jury found Hernandez not guilty of the 2012 deaths of two men, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. "We request that authorities conduct a transparent and thorough investigation". He was cut from the team shortly after he was arrested in Lloyd's killing in June 2013.

The ex-NFL star was in a single cell in general population housing. Fallon 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.

Witnesses at Hernandez's two murder trials painted a picture of a troubled man who often used illegal narcotics and at times believed strangers were challenging or disrespecting him. It also says that he tried to block the door by jamming it with various items.

Lifesaving techniques were administered to the former New England Patriots tight end and he was rushed to a hospital, where a physician pronounced him dead at approximately 4:07 am (0807 GMT).

Team spokesman Stacey James said the Patriots were aware of the reports of Hernandez's death but didn't anticipate the club commenting Wednesday.

"Especially after him getting acquitted of the double murder".

  • Julie Sanders