The Los Angeles Times reports that former San Diego Chargers football star Junior Seau, American Samoa, was found dead by his girlfriend in the bedroom of their home in North San Diego county today.
Although few details are currently available, the death appears to be the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
Seau, who spent his early years in American Samoa and whose great-grandfather was a village chief in Pago Pago, was a 12-time Pro Bowl selection and a member of the NFL 1990’s All-Decade team. The majority of his professional playing career was spent for the San Diego Chargers (he also played for the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots).
In recent years Seau had some tough times—in 2010 he was involved in a violent car crash near his home when his SUV went over a beachside cliff. This was mere hours after he was released from jail following a domestic violence arrest involving his girlfriend. Seau told the police at the time that he drove the SUV off the cliff because he fell asleep behind the wheel, and police found no evidence of drugs or alcohol. ABC News reports that at the time, some saw this as a possible suicide attempt.
The Associated Press is reporting that Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy says Seau’s girlfriend found him unconscious with a gunshot wound to the chest, and that lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful.
ABC News reports that McCoy said a handgun was found near Seau’s body, and that Seau’s mother broke down in tears at the press conference, saying “Take me, take me, leave my son, but it’s too late.”
ABC News‘ San Diego affiliate received this statement from the San Diego Chargers: “Everyone at the Chargers is in complete shock and disbelief right now. We ask everyone to stop what they’re doing and send their prayers to Junior and his family.”