Unfortunate news to report, as TMZ has stated that former NFL linebacker and likely future Hall-of-Famer Junior Seau has passed away at the age of 43. The North County Times claims that Seau died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Drafted No. 5 overall out of the University of Southern California in 1990, Seau went on to spend a prolific career with the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. He was a 12-time Pro Bowl selection, alongside being named the AFC Player of the Year in 1994, the same year his Chargers reached the Super Bowl. The late-linebacker would go on to play in one last Super Bowl with the Patriots, before retiring in following the 2009 season.
In 2010, following being arrested for allegedly abusing his girlfriend, Seau drove his car off the side of a cliff near his home in Oceanside, C.A. While many had speculated a suicide attempt, he claimed that he had simply fallen asleep at the wheel after being up all night. Police supported his claim.
The North County Times report that Seau shot himself in the chest may be retroactive to an ongoing series of lawsuits that the NFL has been facing due to brain trauma-based illnesses from former players. Dave Duerson, a former Chicago Bear, committed suicide by the same method in 2011 because he wanted his brain studied.
Seau finished his career with 1,849 tackles and 56.5 sacks. He also netted 18 interceptions.