Aaron Hernandez’s family announced through a family lawyer on Thursday that they will donate Hernandez’s brain to the study of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, otherwise known as CTE. 

Hernandez, who starred for the New England Patriots from 2010 through 2012, 
committed suicide by hanging
early Wednesday morning. Hernandez was in jail after being convicted of the murder of Odin Lloyd, though he 
technically died an innocent man
thanks to an archaic legal principle known as “abatement ab initio.” Hernandez was also recently acquitted of double-murder charges in the 2012 deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. 

He was
found in his prison cell
with the words “John 3:16” written on his forehead, referring to the Bible verse that reads: 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Authorities reportedly believe Hernandez may have smoked a synthetic marijuana known as K2 shortly before he died. K2 studies have shown dozens of “bizarre” side effects, including but not limited to acting erratically. Hernandez’s lawyer and his former agent have both said that there’s no way Hernandez would’ve killed himself, and that they did not think he was suicidal.

CTE has also been shown to have side effects on those that suffer it, with several former NFL players experiencing symptoms of depression and some even committing suicide. It is not known whether or not Hernandez had CTE, because while a person can experience symptoms, CTE cannot actually be confirmed until after a person’s death. 

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