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Ex-NFL star Seau dies in apparent suicide

OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- Former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau, considered one of the best National Football League defensive players of his generation, 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.

A young woman who identified herself as Seau's girlfriend alerted police to the death, saying she had found him wounded and unconscious in his beachfront home just north of San Diego, Oceanside police chief Frank McCoy told reporters.

The death was at least the third apparent suicide by a former NFL player since February 2011, when former Chicago Bears defensive back Dave Duerson killed himself in a case that led to increased scrutiny of the effects of head injuries in football.

Seau, a 12-time Pro Bowl selection whose last NFL season was in 2009, played most of his 20-season career with the Chargers before moving to the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots.

Seau's mother, Luisa, was weeping as she spoke before television cameras outside her son's house, where family 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 was inducted last year into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame, and was expected to be considered for the NFL Hall of Fame. He will become eligible for induction in 2015.

His death was being investigated as a suicide, police said. Seau did not have a documented history of concussions. He suffered a broken arm in 2006 that caused him to miss games, and before that sat out some contests with injuries to a chest muscle and Achilles tendon.

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In this Dec. 27, 2009 file photo, New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau #55 stands on the sideline during an NFL game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Foxborough, Massachusetts.(AP)

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