Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez was found dead this morning after hanging himself in his prison cell where he was serving a life sentence for murder, according to the Massachusetts Department of Correction.
Correction officers discovered Hernandez in his cell at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts. The former tight end was in a “single cell in a general population housing,” the department said in a statement.
Correction officers attempted “lifesaving techniques” on Hernandez. He was subsequently transported to UMASS Leominster where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m. ET by a physician at the hospital.
“Mr. Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bed sheet that he attached to his cell window,” according to the statement. “Mr. Hernandez also attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming the door with various items.”
Hernandez’s next of kin have been notified.
The Massachusetts State Police are on scene and the investigation is ongoing.
A spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Correction told ABC News there was no prior concern Hernandez was suicidal, otherwise he would have been on mental health watch in a different part of the prison. It’s unknown at this time whether he left a suicide note, the spokesman said.
The death of the former NFL star comes less than a week after he was acquitted in a 2012 double slaying. Hernandez, 27, was already serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole after being convicted in the 2013 killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s longtime fiancee.
Hernandez and his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, have a 4-year-old daughter.
The New England Patriots, the Super Bowl LI champions, are scheduled to visit the White House this afternoon to meet with President Donald Trump. A Patriots spokesman told ABC News the team is aware of the reports of Hernandez’s death but declined to provide further comment at this time.
ABC News’ Dee Carden Matt Foster, Aaron Katersky and Amanda Maile contributed to this report.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.