In this April 2, 2015 file photo, former New England Patriots NFL football player Aaron Hernandez reacts in court in Fall River, Mass. during his murder trial in the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez is facing another criminal charge: witness intimidation. The Suffolk County district attorney's office said Monday, May 11, 2015, that a grand jury indicted Hernandez on Friday. They say Hernandez shot a witness to the Boston killings on Feb. 13, 2013, after the witness made a remark about the killings. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool, File)

Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence for a 2013 murder conviction, died early Wednesday morning after apparently hanging himself in his Massachusetts prison cell, authorities said.

Officials at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley said in a statement that guards found Hernandez unresponsive in his cell just after 3 a.m.

Hernandez, 27, who was in a single cell in a general population unit at the maximum security prison, hanged himself with a bed sheet that he attached to his cell window, authorities said. Hernandez also attempted to block his cell door from the inside by jamming the door with various items.

Lifesaving measures were attempted on Hernandez, who was taken to UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster and pronounced dead shortly after 4 a.m.

An investigation is ongoing, authorities said.

The former New England Patriots tight end was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the 2013 fatal shooting of Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée. On Friday, he was acquitted of double murder in an unrelated case.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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