Hundreds of people came out Sunday to take part in a ceremony honoring former Charger's quarterback Junior Seau in front of his Oceanside, Calif., home, paddling out into the waters and forming a circle where they prayed for him.
Seau, 43, appeared to have committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest on May 2, 2012, at his home, and an autopsy a day later confirmed that a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest was responsible for his death.
Outside of his NFL career, Seau was an avid surfer who often rode the waves near his sea-side home, and so the paddle-out marked a fitting tribute to a player who some considered a hero.
"It's a good day, but it's a sad day," remarked one fan on the California beach shown in a video of the event by CBS.
Besides the surfers, thousands of others lined the beach outside his home, snapping photos and tossing flowers.
"He is someone that loved what he did. Day in and day out. Loved his city, loved his community, loved everybody – and we loved him," added the fan.
Meanwhile, it was revealed on Friday that the family of the former Charger's player, who helped the team win the Super Bowl in 1994, have decided to donate his brain to scientific research on the long-term effects of repetitive brain trauma to football players.
"The family was considering this almost from the beginning, but they didn't want to make any emotional decisions and when they came to a joint decision that absolutely this was the best thing, it was a natural occurrence for the Seau family to go forward," explained Chargers team chaplain Shawn Mitchell on Thursday.
"Junior was philanthropic and he got that from his mom and dad. Their hope is that it can serve athletes down the road," Mitchell added.
Pastor Miles McPherson from Rock Church in San Diego, who is a former defensive back for the San Diego Chargers,reflected in a recent article for the UT San Diego on his 20-year friendship with Seau, and offered his thoughts on his suicide.
"That's why his death leaves us asking, 'Why?' What could we have said or done to make a difference? It's a reasonable question that many are asking, but we cannot change the past. It is hard not to wonder what could have, should have and would have been done to save him from his pain," McPherson wrote.
"Suicide is an act of desperation, often designed to end pain, when in fact it only spreads the pain of one to countless others," he added.