The death of Aaron Hernandez was officially ruled a suicide on Thursday afternoon.
A release from Worcester County District Attorney’s office said “the manner of death was suicide and the cause asphyxia by hanging.” The former New England Patriot star had been found hanging from a bed sheet in his prison cell early Wednesday morning. No signs of a struggle were found and Hernandez was found alone in his cell, the district attorney said.
The release also noted that state police detectives found that Hernandez had blocked access to his cell by placing cardboard in the tracks of his cell door. Investigators also found three handwritten notes next to a Bible, though the contents were not disclosed.
With the investigation now complete, the medical examiner will release Hernandez’s brain to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center to be tested for CTE, a degenerative brain disease. Hernandez’s lawyer Jose Baez held a media conference earlier on Thursday to demand the release of his client’s brain.
CBS Boston reported earlier in the day that law enforcement was also looking into the possibility that Hernandez smoked a synthetic marijuana named “K2” before the apparent suicide. The district attorney’s report, however, did not mention any drug use.
It also did not mention widespread reports that Hernandez also had “John 3:16” written on his forehead.
The passage, which is among the most oft-cited from the Bible, reads “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Hernandez had been acquitted of murder chargers in the death of two men in 2012 just five days earlier. He was serving life without parole for the murder of Odin Lloyd in 2013.
The Boston Globe also reported that Hernandez made a telephone call to his fiancée Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez about seven hours before his body was found hanging from a bedsheet in his cell. Jenkins-Hernandez has yet to issue a public comment, nor has Hernandez’s brother or mother.
Other things we know right now:
• Aaron Hernandez’s former agent is unconvinced it was a suicide.
• TMZ reported that Hernandez was placed on suicide watch in 2015 after being convicted of murdering Lloyd, but that it may have been a procedural move.
• Lloyd’s family spoke to Bleacher Report with Lloyd’s sister saying the news of Hernandez’s suicide brought her to tears.
• One of Hernandez’s attorneys will try to get his murder conviction vacated based on an old legal rule.
• Hernandez’s death actually sparked a morbid surge in the memorabilia market.