Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end who took his life while serving a murder sentence in prison, had chronic traumatic encephalopathy — commonly known as CTE — attorney Jorge Baez said Thursday.
Baez cited study results compiled by the Boston University CTE Center, which examined Hernandez’s brain for the neurodegenerative brain disease.
“It was the most severe case they had ever seen, for someone of Aaron’s age,” Baez said.
Hernandez had advanced Stage 3 CTE, which is usually found in the median age of a 67-year-old man, Baez said.
Hernandez died as a convicted murderer, but in the eyes of the law, his conviction has been erased.
In May, a Massachusetts judge ruled to vacate Hernandez’s murder conviction after the former NFL star’s suicide.
Minutes later, prosecutors said the would appeal the judge’s decision.
Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez hanged himself in his prison cell on April 19, just days after he was acquitted of double-murder charges in a separate case.
Hernandez’s fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, is suing the New England Patriots and the NFL, claiming they were aware of the link between suicidal impulses and CTE and failed to share that info with Hernandez.