Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez dead after hanging self in cell

BOSTON — Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence for a murder conviction and just days ago was acquitted of a double murder, died after hanging himself in his prison cell Wednesday morning, Massachusetts prisons officials said.

[The Latest: Hernandez pal can't believe he killed himself]

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

[READ MORE: Aaron Hernandez had troubled history at facility before suicide]

The former New England Patriots tight end was pronounced dead at UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster about an hour later.

Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population housing unit in the maximum security state prison. He hanged himself using a bed sheet that he attached to a cell window, Fallon said.

Hernandez tried to block the cell door from the inside by jamming the door with various items, Fallon said.

[RELATED: Aaron Hernandez's lawyer, agent dispute suicide claims, want full investigation]

Hernandez was moved to tears on Friday after he was acquitted of the 2012 fatal shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston. Just before his acquittal, Hernandez was seen blowing kisses to the little girl he fathered with fiancée Shayanna Jenkins. Cameras captured the tender exchange.

But, Hernandez was still serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for his conviction in the 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancee's sister.

[Aaron Hernandez Timeline: From Odin Lloyd's death to present]

Hernandez's lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hernandez's death comes the same day the Patriots are making their visit to the White House today to mark their Super Bowl win. Team spokesman Stacey James said the Patriots were aware of the reports of Hernandez's death but didn't anticipate the club commenting Wednesday.

(Click PLAY to watch the Facebook Live over the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center)

WATCH LIVE: Aerials over Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center where prison officials said convicted killer and ex-New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez committed suicide in prison, officials said this morning. http://on.wsoctv.com/2pg39ka

Posted by WSOC-TV on Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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