Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez had written a bible verse on his forehead in red marker men shortly before he killed himself, according to reports.
A source told local Fox News affiliate FOX25 that Hernandez had written the verse “John 3:16” on his forehead in red marker pen and left a bible in his prison cell open to that corresponding verse, before then killing himself in his cell.
Hernandez was later found hanging from a bedsheet Wednesday in his cell in a maximum-security prison in Massachusetts, where he was serving a life sentence for the 2013 slaying of a onetime friend.
The former NFL player’s death in prison — just days after the former NFL star was cleared of additional murder charges — remains shrouded in mystery, with authorities offering few answers news of Hernandez’s death was made public.
His death came hours before his former New England Patriots teammates visited the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl victory. Hernandez, 27, died five days after a jury acquitted him in the 2012 shooting deaths of two men whom prosecutors alleged he gunned down after one accidentally spilled a drink on him at a Boston nightclub.
The apparent suicide left friends, family and his legal team shocked and in disbelief. Many were searching for an explanation to the tragic end of a young man whose football skills at one point earned him a five-year, $40 million contract extension with the NFL's top franchise.
"There were no conversations or correspondence from Aaron to his family or legal team that would have indicated anything like this was possible," said his attorney, Jose Baez.
"Aaron was looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence. Those who love and care about him are heartbroken and determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death."
Guards found Hernandez shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday at the state prison in Shirley, Correction Department spokesman Christopher Fallon said. The former tight end was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead about an hour later.
Fallon said officials had no reason to believe Hernandez was suicidal. Otherwise, he would have been transferred to a mental health unit, he added.
The Worcester County district attorney's office and the Correction Department were investigating, and Massachusetts' chief medical examiner was conducting an autopsy.
The Patriots had no immediate comment, and President Donald Trump made no mention of Hernandez at the White House event.
A star tight end for the University of Florida when it won the 2008 title, Hernandez dropped to the fourth round of the NFL draft because of trouble in college that included a failed drug test and a bar fight. His name also had come up in an investigation into a shooting.
Still, he was a productive tight end for the Patriots for three seasons. He caught 79 passes for 910 yards and seven touchdowns in his second year to help the team reach the Super Bowl.
But the Patriots released him in 2013, shortly after he was arrested in the killing of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. Hernandez was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Sporting deaths in 2017
Sporting deaths in 2017
1/11 Frantisek Rajtoral, 31
Former Czech Republic international footballer (12 March 1986 - 23 April 2017)
2/11 Ugo Ehiogu, 44
Former England international defender (3 November 1972 - 21 April 2017)
3/11 Aaron Hernandez, 27
American football tight end (November 6 1989 – April 19 2017)
4/11 Matthew Tapunuu 'Rosey' Anoaʻi, 47
Samoan professional wrestler (April 7 1970 – April 17 2017)
5/11 Amilcar Henriquez, 33
Panamanian international footballer (August 2 1983 – April 15 2017)
6/11 Mike Hall, 35
British ultra-distance cyclist (4 June 1981 – 31 March 2017)
7/11 Ronnie Moran, 83
Former Liverpool football captain and coach (28 February 1934 - 22 March 2017)
8/11 John Surtees, 83
Former F1 and motorbike world champion (11 February 1934-10 March 2017)
9/11 Dan Vickerman, 37
Former Australia international rugby union player (20 February 1971 – 6 February 2017)
10/11 Joost van der Westhuizen, 45
Former South Africa international rugby union player (20 February 1971 – 6 February 2017)
11/11 Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, 77
Former England international women's cricketer (11 June 1939 – 18 January 2017)
Last week, Hernandez was acquitted in the 2012 drive-by shootings of two men in Boston. As the jury deliberated, cameras spied Hernandez blowing kisses to the young daughter he fathered with fiancee Shayanna Jenkins.
Investigators suggested Hernandez shot Lloyd to keep him quiet about the two earlier killings. A lawyer who represents Lloyd's mother said she's moving forward with a wrongful-death lawsuit against Hernandez's estate, which includes a home valued at $1.3 million.
In the Dorchester neighborhood where Lloyd grew up, a family friend of the victim wondered if Hernandez could no longer bear the weight of his crime and his squandered potential.
"I just think it got to him — the guilt," Mixson Philip said. "Each man has to live with himself. You can put on an act like nothing happened, but you've got a soul. You've got a heart."
Friends also were grieving in Connecticut, where Hernandez was raised.
"Especially after him getting acquitted of the double murder. That was a positive thing in our minds," said Alex Cugno, who grew up with Hernandez in Bristol. "I don't believe that he would have killed himself. It just doesn't add up."Reuse content