As reaction pours in from people who knew Hernandez throughout his life, those who covered him on and off the field weigh in.
"I just think it’s a very sad story all the way around," said Boston Herald sports columnist Ron Borges.
Borges says he was as shocked as anyone when former Patriots star Aaron Hernandez apparently committed suicide in his prison cell overnight – just five days after his acquittal on double murder charges.
"So he was acquitted, but two days later is Easter Sunday and he’s in the same spot he was in before, so maybe for him the weight of that was too much to take."
Borges covered Hernandez when he played tight end for the Patriots and wrote an in depth article for Rolling Stone Magazine on him after his 2013 arrest on murder charges.
"Let’s say you don’t want to believe that he shot anybody, he was around five shootings in nine years. I mean there are mafia hitmen not around five shootings in nine years."
But Borges says Hernandez’s troubles began well before the violence he was surrounded by during his years in college and professional football.
"He sort of became unmoored to this one anchor he had, his father Dennis, when he died when he was 15, he just never really moved on from that."
Borges said it likely didn’t help Hernandez that playing in New England kept him close to the bad influences and his circle of friends in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut.
"Although he could break away on a football field," said Borges, "he could not break away from the circle that he chose."
And as Hernandez grew into a star, Borges says money and fame didn’t make a difference.
"Aaron obviously had a lot of hurt and a lot of pain and a lot of confusion, that he couldn’t cope with, and giving him $40 million dollars didn’t change that."
Borges says we may never know the answer as to ‘why’ this happened, but he just sees this as the final bad choice in a long list of bad choices.