Aaron Hernandez's Family Wants to Donate His Brain for Research, Lawyer Says

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The 27-year-old former National Football League star hung himself early on Wednesday in the prison cell where he was serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of an acquaintance, dying less than a week after he was cleared of a separate double-murder charge, according to state officials. After officers attempted life-saving procedures, he was rushed to UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.

"Mr. Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population unit". As another legal expert explained previously, Hernandez's death triggered a legal principle in MA called "abatement ab initio", which means that if a person dies before exhausting all legal appeals, the case reverts to its earliest state.

The state's chief medical examiner had withheld some tissue samples from Hernandez's brain as part of the effort to confirm he took his own life.

Hernandez's body is now in the custody of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Hernandez's family wants to donate his brain to Boston University's CTE center, his attorney Jose Baez said.

Hernandez, 27, was found by guards at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley just after 3 a.m., Department of Correction spokesman Christopher Fallon said in a statement.

Already serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, Hernandez was acquitted last week in a double-murder trial in Suffolk Superior Court.

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But authorities have yet to release the incident report, officers' logs, video footage from the area around Hernandez's cell or other details about prison protocol, despite repeated requests from The Associated Press.

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Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including football players, that can manifest itself as impaired judgment, depression and aggression. Some of Hernandez's representatives believe his death wasn't a suicide.

Hernandez's death may also give his lawyers an opportunity to void his conviction for Lloyd's murder.

Hernandez's body is at a Boston-area funeral home, but services for the Bristol, Connecticut, native likely will be held elsewhere.

'There were no conversations or correspondence that would have alarmed the legal team or family, ' the Florida-based attorney added.

Hernandez was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. That was first reported by The Boston Globe, citing another one of Hernandez's lawyers. At the White House event in the afternoon, Republican President Trump congratulated the Super Bowl champions but made no mention of Hernandez. "I think he was murdered", said Keith Birchall of Woonsocket.