Former Charger Junior Seau found dead of an apparent suicide
City News Service
Former NFL star and San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau has died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
A woman who identified herself as Seau’s girlfriend made an emergency call shortly after 9:30 a.m. to report finding him unconscious at the house in the 600 block of The Strand South in Oceanside, police Chief Frank McCoy told reporters.
Patrol officers found the 43-year-old former professional athlete in a bedroom, mortally wounded from a gunshot wound to the chest, McCoy said. Medics tried in vain to revive Seau before pronouncing him dead at the scene.
“This case at this point is being investigated as a suicide,” the chief said outside the home. `”A handgun was found near the body.”
The NFL great’s mother, Luisa Seau, tearfully implored the crowd gathered in front of his seaside house to “show your love to my son.”
“I prayed to God, `Take me, leave my son,’ but it’s too late, too late,” she said in a grief-choked voice.
The Chargers issued a brief statement at midday, saying the entire organization was “in complete shock and disbelief” over Seau’s death. “We ask everyone to stop what they’re doing and send their prayers to Junior and his family,” the statement read.
Junior Seau’s son, Jake, is a sophomore at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, where he plays football and lacrosse (for which he is rated one of the nation’s top players). His daughter, Sydney, is a senior at Bishop’s, and plans to attend the University of Southern California, where her father once played football. Nephew, Micah Seau, a 2011 graduate of The Bishop’s School, is a linebacker with the San Diego State Aztecs’ football team.
A representative of The Bishop’s School said they were “saddened by the sudden passing of Junior Seau.”
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders added: “Junior Seau was one of the most electrifying athletes in San Diego sports history. He was a passionate figure who gave the game of football – and Chargers’ fans everywhere – everything he had. His passion for the San Diego region was also felt through his charitable work, which did so much good in so many ways.”
The San Diego Psychological Association released the following statement: ”We realize that Junior Seau’s death will remind those who have lost loved ones to this tragic kind of loss and we offer our sympathy to them. At the same time we would like people to know that depression is a treatable disease. Suicide is often the culmination of a history of repeated depression and threats. This is a treatable disease and people’s threats should be taken seriously. If you are aware of anyone whose depression is causing concern please contact a member of our association who can provide support, counseling, and information.”
According to reports from U-T San Diego and the Los Angeles Times, Seau’s family will allow researchers to study his brain for signs of damage from concussions he sustained during his career with the NFL.
Junior Seau played 20 seasons in the National Football League, most for the Chargers, but also for the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. Considered one of the best linebackers in the game, he was elected to 12 consecutive Pro Bowls as a member of the Chargers.
He announced his retirement in 2006, but after being contacted by the Patriots, he joined the New England franchise and played for four more seasons. He also owned a popular Mission Valley sports bar/restaurant bearing his name.
Junior Seau is the eighth player from the San Diego Chargers’ 1994 Super Bowl season to die before the age of 45. Read more about the team’s unprecedented losses here.
–Pat Sherman and Phil Dailey contributed to this report
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