Former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez reportedly hanged himself in his jail cell on Wednesday, April 19, according to authorities.
Hernandez was serving a life sentence at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.
Officers at the correctional center said that Hernandez hanged himself using a bedsheet that he attached to his cell window. He was still sent to a hospital but was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m. EDT.
The former NFL star died with a net worth of $8.2 million, according to Coed. Hernandez earned well during his days as part of NFL team New England Patriots from 2010 until 2013, before his arrest and conviction.
He ended his first year with the Patriots as a rising star and helped bring the team to Super Bowl XLVI that was held in February 2012.
His arrest in 2013 later led the Patriots to remove and destroy any memorabilia of him, including endorsements, his football cards, and his likeness in NFL and NCAA video games.
Aside from this, Hernandez had faced many run-ins with the law, including a double homicide charge in 2014. He was acquitted from the charges just a week ago, on April 14.
With this positive progress in his legal troubles, his family and friends find it hard to believe that Hernandez eventually decided to take his life.
"Aaron was looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence," Jose Baez, Hernandez's lawyer, said in a statement. "Those who love and care about him are heartbroken and determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death," he added.
Due to his unexpected death, Hernandez likely dies an innocent man under the eyes of the law, as the doctrine of "abatement ab initio" still operates under Massachusetts' criminal law.
This is because Hernandez died without exhausting all legal processes that can help turn around his conviction.
"The principal behind this legal doctrine is, the individual has not had the ability to clear their name," said Martin W. Healy, chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Bar Association.