The family of Aaron Hernandez, the former tight end for the New England Patriots and convicted murderer found hanging in his Massachusetts prison cell on Wednesday, is releasing his brain to Boston University's Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center for a study on brain trauma.
Attorney Jose Baez said Hernandez's brain is being donated to advance the study of CTE, a degenerative brain disease linked to people who sustain repeated concussions and head trauma that can only be diagnosed after death. CTE can cause everything from memory loss to disorientation, and several football players, including Frank Gifford, Junior Seau, and Mike Webster, have been found to have it.
In 2015, Hernandez, 27, was convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd, his fiancee's sister's boyfriend, and sentenced to life in prison. He was found early Wednesday morning hanging from a bed sheet attached to a window in his cell, and the chief state medical examiner has ruled his death a suicide.