Aaron Hernandez dies by suicide in prison cell

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Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez was found hanged on Wednesday in the prison where he was serving a life sentence for murder, officials have confirmed.

Hernandez, a tight end for the New England Patriots, received a life sentence two years ago after being found guilty of the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.

He was duly acquitted in a separate murder case last week.

A statement from the Massachusetts Department of Correction read: "On April 19, 2017 Aaron Hernandez was discovered hanging in his cell by corrections officers at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley Massachusetts at approximately 3:05 a.m.

"Lifesaving techniques were attempted on Mr. Hernandez and he was transported to UMASS Leominster where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m. by a physician at the hospital.

"The Massachusetts State Police are on scene and the investigation continues. Mr. Hernandez's next of kin have been notified."

In three seasons from 2010-12 with the Patriots, Hernandez had 175 catches for 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns.

But his career became sidetracked by off-the-field issues.

Already serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, Hernandez was acquitted last week in a double-murder trial in Suffolk Superior Court.

He had pleaded not guilty to killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in a drive-by shooting in 2012. Prosecutors contended Hernandez fired into their car because he felt disrespected when one of the men bumped into him and spilled his drink at a Boston club.