Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez dead after hanging self in cell

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The New England Patriots tight end was found unresponsive inside his prison cell on Wednesday, April 19, according to the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. He had attempted to block the door from the inside by jamming it with various items, prison officials said. The 27-year-old was rushed to UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster, where he was pronounced dead an hour later.

Shortly after Hernandez received life sentence without possibility of parole for the murder of Odin Lloyd in April 2015, he was reportedly taken to MCI-Cedar Junction in MA, where he was kept separate from the rest of the inmate population for evaluation and to protect him from other inmates, according to TMZ.

Hernandez's family and legal team said they were "shocked" by his death, calling for a transparent and thorough investigation.

Fallon said he's not aware of any suicide note written by Hernandez.

Hernandez's attorney, Jose Baez, said in a statement that he wants a full investigation, because his client did not appear suicidal.

The former National Football League star's death left friends, family and his legal team shocked and in disbelief, searching for an explanation.

Baez says the family is "devastated" and does not believe Aaron was in a frame of mind to take his life.

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Baez also said that Hernandez had given his family no indication that he was contemplating taking his own life, and Fallon said that Hernandez was not on suicide watch. He said as Hernandez rose to fame, he did not forget his hometown.

A handful of other Patriots players had already opted out of the trip, some citing political differences with the Republican commander-in-chief.

Although Hernandez's family has not released a statement about his death, sources told Byron Barnett over at WHDH that Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez spoke with Aaron last night, and "everything seemed fine".

Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez and defence attorney wait in the courtroom during the jury deliberation in his first murder trial in April, 2015. Many were searching for an explanation to the tragic end of a young man whose football skills at one point earned him a five-year, $40 million contract extension with the NFL's top franchise. Last Friday, Hernandez was acquitted in the deadly 2012 drive-by shootings of two men in Boston.

Interestingly, Evan Allen of the Boston Globe reported Hernandez's death prevents any evidence regarding his case involving the 2013 homicide of Odin Lloyd from being used in civil court, due to the legal doctrine known as "abatement ab initio". He was convicted and sentenced to life without parole.

"We all can not believe it", said Alex Cugno, who grew up with Hernandez in Bristol. "I will forever miss you and love you bro".

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