The district attorney’s office in Worcester County, Mass., has officially ruled Aaron Hernandez’s death in prison a suicide. Confirmation of the news comes just one day after his body was found hanging in his cell Wednesday.
In light of that ruling, his brain is being turned over to university researchers upon request from the tight end’s family, according to ESPN.
The Hernandez family wants the brain to go to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center, which is a leader in research on the effects of concussions on brains.
A Massachusetts chief medical examiner used a tissue sample of Hernandez’s brain in order to confirm what was reported on Wednesday that Hernandez did indeed take his own life in his cell. Until then, the DA kept his brain in case more tissue samples were going to be needed.
Authorities also told ESPN that investigators found three handwritten notes next to a Bible inside Hernandez’s cell. The former star tight end was hanging in his maximum-security prison cell early Wednesday. They also said there was no sign of struggle.
Hernandez entered the NFL as a fourth-round pick of the New England Patriots in the 2010 NFL Draft. He recorded 175 catches, 1,956 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns in three seasons with the team.
During the summer of 2013, he was arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd. In August of that same year, he was indicted by a grand jury and later found guilty of first-degree murder. The former NFL player was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was also indicted for the 2012 double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, but was eventually acquitted.