Hernandez was found hanged in his cell just after 3 a.m., according to an official with the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. After attempts to revive him failed, the Associated Press reports that Hernandez was pronounced dead at UMass Memorial -- HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster an hour later.
ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted out details of how and when Hernandez was discovered hanged in his cell.
The prison's assistant deputy commissioner of communications, Christopher Fallon, told the Associated Press that officials had not been concerned that Hernandez was a suicide risk. Fallon also said no suicide note had been found and the case will be investigated by Massachusetts State Police.
Jose Baez, an attorney for Hernandez, has been retained by the former athlete's family to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death and will act as the executor of his estate, according to a statement from Baez.
Hernandez starred at the University of Florida and played tight end for the New England Patriots from 2010-12, catching 18 touchdown passes. His death comes less than a week after . Hernandez was found not guilty Friday in the 2012 murder of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston. The verdict came nearly two years after Hernandez was in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.
Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the slaying of Lloyd without the possibility of parole. He was found guilty for only one of the eight counts Friday: illegal possession of a firearm, according to CBS News. As a result, he was sentenced to an additional four to five years in prison. Hernandez was found not guilty of the remaining seven counts. He was also accused of first-degree murder, witness intimidation and shooting a witness -- Alexander Bradley -- in the face in an attempt to silence him.
Patriots coachduring an interview on CNBC, and Hernandez's name came up.
Belichick responded by saying "tragedy."
Hernandez is survived by his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, and their 4-year-old daughter.