Former NFL great Junior Seau was found dead in his home in Oceanside, Calif., today. Police say the likely cause of death was suicide. He was 43 years old.
Law enforcement sources reportedly believe Seau, a USC and pro football standout for 20 seasons, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
Few other details were immediately available. TV footage showed police swarming his home in North San Diego County and people comforting each other.
He leaves behind four kids and an ex-wife. He reportedly sent text messages to his ex-wife and children yesterday saying simply, “Love you.”
They all responded and didn’t suspect anything was wrong, according to TMZ reports, and Seau is said to have last seen his kids three weeks ago.
Sources close to Seau say his family didn’t notice any signs of depression in recent weeks, but more details will surely follow in the coming days.
Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy just spoke outside Seau’s house, claiming Seau’s body was initially discovered by the athlete’s girlfriend.
A 911 call was placed around 10 a.m. today. Police responded and found Junior’s unconscious body inside a bedroom with a gunshot wound to the chest.
Seau was involved in a car accident a few years ago when he drove off a cliff in Carlsbad, Calif., hours after he was arrested for attacking his girlfriend.
Seau later said he was not trying to kill himself … insisting he had fallen asleep at the wheel. That was 2010, his final season as a professional.
The San Diego Chargers, who employed Junior for most of his career, said in a statement, “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.”
Seau’s explosive play at linebacker with the Chargers, Dolphins and Patriots will likely send him to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.