Aaron Hernandez’s brain will be donated to sports concussion researchers, ESPN reports, with the announcement coming hours after an attorney for the former NFL star’s family suggested the state was “illegally” withholding it.
“Now that the cause and manner of death have been determined, the brain will be released to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center as Mr. Hernandez’s family wishes,” a statement from the district attorney’s office and police reportedly said.
The chief medical examiner officially ruled Hernandez’s death asphyxia by hanging, ESPN reports, and despite previous reports that Hernandez did not leave any message behind, investigators reportedly found three handwritten notes next to a Bible in Hernandez’s cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Massachusetts.
Attorney Jose Baez declined to comment on whether or not he or the family believed that football-induced brain damage led the former New England Patriots player to kill himself.
“We’re not suggesting anything,” he reportedly said. “You go where the evidence takes you. We need to examine every aspect of this case.”
Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. He was acquitted of a separate 2012 double murder last week.