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Chargers Legend Junior Seau Found Dead

The 18-year NFL veteran is the Chargers all-time leader in tackles.

Updated at 2:04 p.m. Wednesday

Former San Diego Chargers star Junior Seau died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound at his beachfront North San Diego County home Wednesday, authorities reported.

Emergency crews responded to a report of a possible suicide at the house in the 600 block of The Strand South in Oceanside shortly after 9:30 a.m., a dispatcher said.

According to Police Chief Frank McCoy, Seau's girlfriend found him at about 9:35 a.m. with a gunshot wound to the chest. Medics tried in vain to revive 43-year-old Seau before pronouncing him dead at the scene.

"This case at this point is being investigated as a suicide," the chief said outside the home. "A handgun was found near the body."

Authorities said they did not find a suicide note and are not releasing the name of the girlfriend. The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office said it expects to complete an examination in the case Thursday.

Luisa Seau, Seau's mother, thanked the community for their support noting that she "didn't know who would do that" to Seau.

"I appreciate everybody over here to show your love for my son," Luisa said. "I don't know what I'm going to do without my son."

Luisa was surrounded by at least 200 people, some of whom screamed "We love you Mama Seau," while family members sang hymns.

Oceanside resident and friend of the family, Will Owens, said Seau's death is "the loss of a legend" and that he believed the was a "cry for help."

"The man did so much with his life and gave so much to the community," he said. "He was always so approachable when he was out in the neighborhood. He'd talk to anyone."

Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner said he found out while in a meeting this morning while team President Dean Spanos said he heard about while watching the news.

"I want to remember all the good things about him," Spanos said, adding that he last spoke with Seau a little less than a year ago.

Turner said Seau was a mentor to some people—something not everyone has the ability to do—and he will be missed. He added that he had not yet had a chance to talk with players to see how they felt about Seau's death.

The Chargers posted a statement on their Facebook page: "Everyone at the San Diego 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."

Seau was a 12-time Pro Bowl selection, and a 10-time All-Pro. He was drafted by the Chargers with the fifth overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft out of the University of Southern California. He played with the Chargers for 12 years before finishing his career with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.

Seau is the Bolts all-time leader in tackles with 1,288. He also had 47 career sacks and 15 career interceptions.

In November 2011, he was inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame. He was also named to the Chargers 50th Anniversary All-Time team, and in 1992 won the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year Award. He was also a member of the NFL's 1990s All-Decade Team.

Seau played in two Super Bowls in his career. In 1995, the Chargers lost 49-26 to the San Francisco 49ers. In 2008, Seau was part of the previously undefeated New England Patriots team that lost to the New York Giants 21-17.

Stay with Patch for more information as it becomes available. City News Service contributed to this report.

Maggie Avants May 03, 2012 at 12:38 AM
The family members and friends of Junior Seau are in my prayers and thoughts. I had the honor of meeting him once and remember him as genuine and down-to-earth. My heart also goes out to the Chargers and the community of San Diego in this loss.

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