OCEANSIDE (CBS) — NFL and USC Trojan Junior Seau was found dead Wednesday morning in his Oceanside home from an apparent suicide.
Seau’s girlfriend discovered the body of the 43-year-old NFL standout around 10 a.m. in a bedroom, Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy said.
Paramedics attempted to revive Seau, but they were unsuccessful. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, according to McCoy . A handgun was recovered from the home.
Police are investigating Seau’s death as a suicide.
Seau’s family gathered outside of his home Wednesday where his mother emotionally addressed reporters.
“I pray to God, please, please, take me and leave my son. But it’s too late,” Luisa Seau said.
Fans also showed up at the Pro Bowler’s eatery, Seau’s The Restaurant, in San Diego to offer their sympathies.
KNX 1070’s Randy Kerdoon reports the death comes just two years after Seau was involved in a car accident back in 2010 when he drove his SUV off a cliff in Carlsbad, hours after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence.
The football star later said he was not trying to kill himself, insisting he had fallen asleep at the wheel.
Seau played for the Trojans as a standout linebacker in the late 1980s. He was a first round draft pick in 1990. He played professionally for 20 years on the San Diego Charges, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. He went to the Pro Bowl 12 times before retiring from the NFL in 2010.
“We are tremendously saddened to hear this news and our hearts go out to his family and children. Junior Seau was one of the greatest legends in USC football history. He will always be remembered by USC as the original No. 55,” USC Athletic Director Pat Haden said.
Students and faculty at Seau’s alma mater told KNX 1070’s Claudia Peschiutta they lost one of the school’s greatest sports heroes.
“My first introduction to Junior was in the weight room and he basically came up and introduced himself to me,” recalled USC assistant track coach Mike Pullins, who was a senior when Seau was a freshman. “Obviously it was great watching him play and I know it’s a tough time for the city of Los Angeles, for all the Trojans, Chargers as well.”
“Everyone at the Chargers is in complete shock and disbelief right now. We ask everyone to stop what they’re doing and send their prayers to Junior and his family,” the Chargers organization said in a statement.
Seau was born on Jan. 19, 1969 in Oceanside.
He is survived by his ex-wife and three children.
USC Remembers Junior Seau