Former NFL linebacker Junior Seau was found dead Wednesday morning at his Southern California home. He was 43 years old.
The ex-linebacker's girlfriend found the NFL legend with a fatal shotgun wound to the chest. The San Diego Union-Tribune
reports that police received a call to 911 at 9:35 a.m. reporting a possible suicide, per Oceanside police Chief Frank McCoy. Officers found Seau in a bedroom with a gunshot wound to the chest, and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. Reports indicate that a gun was found by Seau's side.
The report, first put out by TMZ, was first confirmed by the North County Times
Pro football great and Oceanside sports legend Junior Seau has apparently committed suicide, found by a housekeeper with a gunshot wound to the chest, according to multiple sources.
Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood said he learned of the death from police Chief Frank McCoy.
Police responded to Seau's home on The Strand on Wednesday after receiving a call about a reported suicide. The San Diego County medical examiner's office said an investigator was sent to the scene.
The San Diego Chargers issued a statement at approximately noon PT:
Everyone at the Chargers is in complete shock and disbelief right now...We ask everyone to stop what they're doing and send their prayers to Junior and his family.
If Seau committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest, it is similar to the way former Chicago Bears great Dave Duerson ended his life. Duerson shot himself in the chest on February 17
, 2011 -- the method used so that his brain could be examined for symptoms of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a trauma-induced disease common to NFL players and others who have received repeated blows to the head.
Seau, a 12-time Pro Bowler and 6-time First-Team All-Pro, was selected fifth overall in the 1990 NFL draft after an outstanding collegiate career at USC. He played with the San Diego Chargers through the 2002 season, spent 2003-2005 with the Miami Dolphins, and then signed with the New England Patriots in time for the 2006 season. In New England's perfect regular season of 2007, he played in all 16 games and started four. Seau first retires after that season, only to come back and play in 2008 and 2009 before finally leaving the NFL for good.
"I'm going to go surf," he told Showtime upon his January, 2010 retirement announcement. Whatever happens, I can honestly say, that that probably was my last game."
Seau is the eighth member of the Chargers 1994 Super Bowl team to pass. We will keep you updated on this story as more news is confirmed.