SHIRLEY, Mass. - Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots star who was convicted of murder, was found hanged Wednesday morning in the Massachusetts prison where he was serving a life sentence, officials said.
The death of Hernandez, 27, comes just days after he was acquitted in a separate murder case.
Hernandez "was discovered hanged in his cell by corrections officers at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley Massachusetts at approximately 3:05 a.m.," the Massachusetts Department of Correction said.
"Lifesaving techniques were attempted on Mr. Hernandez and he was transported to UMASS Leominster, where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m. by a physician at the hospital.
"Mr. Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population housing. Mr. Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bed sheet that he attached to his cell window. Mr. Hernandez also attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming the door with various items.
"The Massachusetts State Police are on scene and the investigation continues. Mr. Hernandez's next of kin have been notified."
Hernandez, who is already serving a life sentence for a 2013 murder, was acquitted in a 2012 double slaying prosecutors said was fueled by his anger over a spilled drink.
The former tight end wept quietly as the verdicts were read in Boston. A few moments later, he looked back at his fiancee and nodded somberly as relatives of the victims sobbed loudly. A defense attorney hugged him.
After six days of deliberations, the jury found Hernandez not guilty of first-degree murder in the killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. It convicted him of a single charge: unlawful possession of a gun. The judge sentenced him to an additional four to five years in prison, separate from his existing life sentence.
Prosecutors said Hernandez opened fire on their car because he felt disrespected when one of the men bumped into him and spilled his drink at a Boston nightclub.
Hernandez was also acquitted of shooting Bradley in the face months later to try to silence him as a witness. Bradley lost his right eye.
Hernandez, 27, was already serving a life sentence for the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. Prosecutors in the double-murder trial weren't allowed to mention his conviction in Lloyd's case.
Hernandez grew up in Bristol, Connecticut, and played for the Patriots from 2010 to 2012. About six weeks after Furtado and de Abreu were killed, Hernandez signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Patriots and went on to play another season before Lloyd was killed. He was cut from the team shortly after he was arrested in Lloyd's killed in June 2013. He was not charged in the 2012 killings until 2014.
In his first trial, jurors deliberated for 36 hours over seven days before convicting him of murder.
Jurors in the trial that concluded Friday deliberated for about 37 hours.