UPDATE April 21, 2017 at 12:49 p.m.:
Aaron Hernandez's family is planning a private funeral for the former NFL star in his Connecticut hometown.
A spokeswoman for the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association said Saturday that the service is set for Monday at a funeral home in Bristol, where Hernandez was a standout football and basketball player in high school.
UPDATE 4:35 p.m. EST: Hernandez's brain will be released for study.
UPDATE 4:20 p.m. EST: Hernandez death has been ruled a suicide.
UPDATE 2:57 p.m. EST:
Aaron Hernandez's family has decided to donate the former NFL star's brain for scientific research and CTE studies at Boston University, Hernandez's lawyer Jose Baez announced on Thursday. However, the defense attorney said the state medical examiner is improperly withholding Hernandez's brain.
“It is our position that they are holding Aaron Hernandez’s brain illegally,” Baez said.
The family wants to know if Hernandez suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) which is caused by repetitive brain trauma that has been found in some football players.
Baez added that the family wants "answers quickly."
“If we don’t get answers and answers quickly, we’re going straight to court,” he continued.
UPDATE April 20, 6:27 a.m. EST:
CBS Boston reports Aaron Hernandez had "John 3:16" on his forehead and red marks on his hands and feet that appeared to be stigmata when he died.
John 3:16 references a Bible verse: "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." Fox 25 in Boston reported the markings were drawn in red marker.
Hernandez had also reportedly smoked K2, a form of synthetic marijuana.
UPDATE 10:49 a.m. EST:
Aaron Hernandez's lawyer Jose Baez will investigate Hernandez's death and called for authorities to do the same, according to a statement released Wednesday.
Baez, who was also Casey Anthony's defense lawyer, said Hernandez was "looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence."
Here's the full statement.
UPDATE 10:26 a.m. EST: Hernandez's lawyers will seek to vacate his murder conviction.
UPDATE 10:09 a.m. EST: The removal of Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction after his suicide is "not inconsistent with the law at all," Massachusetts School of Law dean Michael Coyne told Patriots Wire.
Hernandez's suicide means he can't assist with the pending appeal, which means his murder charge will be vacated if his lawyers ask a judge in the next 30 days.
"He can't consult with his lawyers. He can't describe the inconsistencies in the evidence," Coyne said.
UPDATE 9:47 a.m. EST:
Aaron Hernandez's conviction in the Odin Lloyd murder case was under appeal when he committed suicide, Massachusetts School of Law dean Michael Coyne said.
Technically, this means Hernandez did not die a convicted murderer. His conviction will be vacated at some point.
Hernandez suicide while Lloyd case on appeal vacates conviction for Lloyd's death. Not a convicted murderer in death. Odd twist.— MichaelCoyne (@DeanCoyne) April 19, 2017
UPDATE 7:53 a.m. EST: No suicide note from Hernandez was found.
ORIGINAL STORY: Former New England Patriot star Aaron Hernandez committed suicide in prison Wednesday morning, the state Department of Correction announced.
Hernandez was found hanging from a bedsheet at about 3:05 a.m. Eastern time in Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts. He was rushed to a hospital and pronounced dead about an hour later. Hernandez, 27, was serving a life sentence after being convicted for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. He had recently been found not guilty in two other murder cases.
Here's the Department of Corrections' statement.
Hernandez's rise and fall made his case an emotional one for many observers.
Social media quickly flooded with tributes and speculation.
WATCH | Here's the moment Hernandez found he was not guilty in the other two murder cases.