Oceanside, California police have confirmed that former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau has died as the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, according to Police Chief Frank McCoy. The 43-year-old was reportedly found unconscious by his girlfriend late Wednesday morning inside a bedroom in his home. Paramedics tried to revive him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Family members arrived on the scene shortly after police, including his parents. His mother spoke to reporters, in tears.
"Take me. Leave my son alone!" she screamed hysterically as his father and other family members looked on. The 12-time Pro Bowl player reportedly sent "love you" text messages to his ex-wife and three children on Tuesday, according to TMZ. They replied, but didn't sense anything was wrong.
In 2010, Seau drove his SUV off a cliff near Carlsbad, California after being arrested for assaulting his now ex-wife. He claimed that he fell asleep at the wheel and wasn't trying to harm himself. However, his suicide now shows remarkable similarities to that of another former NFL star, Dave Duerson. Duerson shot himself in the chest in 2011 so his brain could be donated to medical research into head injuries in former football players. Ray Easterling, a former safety for the Atlanta Falcons in the '70s who was also plagued with injuries, killed himself two weeks ago with a gun.
Seau was plagued with injuries throughout his two-decade career, including several concussions. No one within the NFL is talking about the connection between player suicides — for now, everyone is in mourning.
"Everyone at the Chargers is in complete shock and disbelief right now," the team said in a statement. "We ask everyone to stop what they're doing and send their prayers to Junior and his family."
Seau leaves behind his three teenage children: A daughter, Sydney, and two sons Jake and Hunter.
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