Just days after being acquitted of a double murder, a former New England Patriots tight end is back in the news. What happened to Aaron Hernandez? According to a statement from the Massachusetts Department of Correction, Hernandez was found dead in his jail cell from an apparent suicide; Hernandez has been previously serving a life sentence after being convicted in the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd before facing trial for the murders of Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu.
Hernandez was jailed at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, when he was found hanging by a bed sheet by correctional officers at approximately 3:05 a.m. on Wednesday morning. According to the Department of Correction's statement, Hernandez had blocked his cell door from the inside with "various items." He was transported to UMass Memorial Hospital in Leominster, where he was pronounced dead an hour later. According to authorities, no suicide note was found in his cell. Hernandez was 27 years old.
Following his conviction and sentencing for the murder of Lloyd, Hernandez was placed on suicide watch at the same Massachusetts correctional facility in 2015, according to Fox News. It is unknown whether Hernandez was placed on a similar suicide watch following his acquittal on Friday; representatives for the Massachusetts Department of Corrections did not immediately return Romper's request for comment.
The news of Hernandez's death comes the same day the New England Patriots will visit the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl 51 victory. "We are aware of the reports," a Patriots spokesperson told ESPN, "But I don't anticipate that we will be commenting today." While former teammates have so far not offered any comment in the wake of Hernandez's death, several NFL players took to Twitter on Friday to express their reactions to Hernandez's acquittal. "Speechless," was all Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden tweeted. Meanwhile, former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak tweeted, "Justice."
Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett offered a more thoughtful response in the wake of Hernandez's acquittal via Twitter. Clarett served three and a half years in prison in a 2006 plea bargain on robbery and concealed weapons charges. He was released from prison in 2010 and since gone on to a career in public speaking about his past experiences and rehabilitation efforts.
The 27-year-old former NFL star's next of kin have been notified, but no statement has yet been released by Hernandez's family. A formal investigation into Hernandez's death is ongoing, according to Department of Corrections officials.