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Researchers to look for CTE in Hernandez's brain

21 April 2017, 09:55 | Gladys Abbott

Researchers to look for CTE in Hernandez's brain

Ex-NFL star hangs himself in prison cell The rise and fall of Aaron Hernandez

A medical examiner ruled the former New England Patriots player hanged himself in his cell while serving a life sentence for murder.

(AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File).

Whether he was aware of it or not, Aaron Hernandez may have greatly improved his family's financial situation by committing suicide. In them, he asked his loved ones not to shed tears but did not give a reason why he committed suicide.

As the hour of his death approached, the former National Football League star chatted on the phone with his longtime fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez. He was in a single cell in a general population unit in the maximum-security state prison.

He was a productive tight end for the Patriots for three seasons, catching 79 passes for 910 yards and seven touchdowns in his second year to help the team reach the Super Bowl.

Then he turned his bedsheet into a noose and hanged himself.

The family of Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots player who died of what officials say was suicide, plans to donate his brain for study, but Hernandez's lawyer has accused the medical examiner of "illegally" withholding it.

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He had not previously been considered suicidal and investigators say no suicide note was found in his cell.

Hernandez, who had been acquitted days earlier of a 2012 double murder, had been alone in his cell since 8 p.m. Tuesday, the statement said.

He was pronounced dead about an hour later at UMass-Memorial Health Alliance Hospital in Leominster, according to a statement from the Massachusetts Department of Correction. The family attorney revealed the family had received the rest of his body prior to the brain being released.

Hernandez's family wanted his brain turned over to Boston University's CTE center, his attorney Jose Baez said.

Baez said the family decided on giving the brain to Boston University to seek signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) - the debilitating brain disease that researchers say is caused in part by concussions while playing American football and other head trauma.

Hernandez's body was released to the Faggas Funeral Home in Watertown following the autopsy. But Baez added that the medical examiner's office has not yet released the brain for examination. Baden, who didn't immediately comment, has performed autopsies in numerous high-profile cases, including the death of Michael Brown, the black 18-year-old who was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. "If we don't get answers and answers quickly, we're going to court", she said. "It's fishy. It makes you wonder what really went on behind those walls in prison".

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