Former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau was found dead at his home in Southern California on Wednesday from a gunshot wound to the chest in an apparent suicide, police said. He was 43.
Oceanside police chief Frank McCoy told reporters that authorities had received a call from a young woman who said she was Seau's girlfriend, and that she had found him wounded and unconscious in his home just north of San Diego.
Seau's mother, Luisa, was weeping as she spoke before television cameras outside her son's house, where family members and friends gathered as police continued to work at the scene.
"I pray to God please take me, leave my son," she said. "But it's too late."
Seau, whose death is being investigated as a suicide, played most of his 20-season career with the Chargers but also spent time with the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots. He was inducted last year into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame.
"Everyone at the San Diego Chargers is in complete shock and disbelief right now," the team said in a statement released on its Facebook page. "We ask everyone to stop what they're doing and send their prayers to Junior and his family."
Seau drove his car off a coastal cliff in California in 2010, hours after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, police said at the time.