OCEANSIDE, Cali. (WPRI/AP) - Former NFL star and former Patriots player Junior Seau was found shot to death at his home Wednesday morning in what police said appeared to be a suicide. He was 43.
Police Chief Frank McCoy said Seau's girlfriend reported finding him unconscious with a gunshot wound to the chest and lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful. A gun was found near him, McCoy said.
Seau's mother appeared before reporters, weeping uncontrollably.
"I don't understand ... I'm shocked," Luisa Seau cried out.
Her son gave no indication of a problem when she spoke to him by phone earlier this week, she said.
"He's joking to me, he called me a 'homegirl,'" she said.
In October 2010, Seau survived a 100-foot plunge down a seaside cliff in his SUV, hours after he was arrested for investigation of domestic violence at the Oceanside home he shared with his girlfriend.
The woman had told authorities that Seau assaulted her during an argument. There was no evidence of drugs or alcohol involved in the crash and Seau told authorities he fell asleep while driving. He sustained minor injuries.
Seau was a linebacker for the New England Patriots from 2006-2009.
He was a part of the Patriots team that went 16-0 during the regular season in 2007 - which ultimately lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
Seau, a 12-time pro-bowler, played for three teams including the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots.
"This is a sad day for the entire Patriots organization, our coaches and his many Patriots teammates. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to his family and his many friends who will mourn this loss," The New England Patriots said in a statement.
"He was loved by everyone in our family, our organization and throughout the NFL. This is just such a tragic loss. One of the worst things I could ever imagine. My prayers go out to Junior's family. It's heartbreaking," Chargers President Dean Spanos.
Head Coach Norv Turner issued a statement reading in part, "It is a sad, sad day not only for me, but for the whole sports community. I can tell you no one had more character and true leadership ability than Junior. It was an honor to know him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Although he has not officially announced his retirement, he last played as a Patriot back in 2009.
The Patriots released a statement saying that they are "terribly saddened to learn of the loss of Junior Seau." You can read the full statement on the team's website, Patriots.com
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