Former NFL star Vincent Jackson was suffering from “chronic alcoholism”, according to an autopsy performed after the ex-Pro Bowl wide receiver was found dead in a hotel room at the age of 38.
Jackson, who ended his career at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016 and also played for the San Diego Chargers, was discovered by a housekeeper at the Homewood Suites hotel in the Tampa area of Florida on Monday, days after officials had located Jackson and spoken to him to assess his “wellbeing” after he had apparently gone missing.
The Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office in Florida revealed the findings of Jackson’s autopsy on Wednesday, saying that “he suffered from chronic alcoholism,” as reported by US outlet TMZ.
Officials are awaiting the toxicology report before confirming an official cause of death, although Sheriff Chad Chronister added that the former NFL star “long-standing health conditions that contributed to his passing because of some alcohol abuse.”
It is unclear why Jackson, who is thought to have earned around $71 million from lucrative contracts during his 12 years in the NFL, had been staying alone at the hotel.
Chronister added, however, that Jackson’s family have asserted that he was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) caused by his time as a football star.
“Well this is true speculation but what the family is telling me is that he suffered from CTE. They believe he had a lot of concussion problems and when you suffer from that, you’re not yourself,” TMZ reported.
“[The family believes] wholeheartedly all of these actions are the result of what he suffered while he was playing in the NFL.”
Jackson was drafted by the Chargers in 2005 and stayed with them until 2011, making two Pro Bowl appearances. He joined the Buccaneers in 2012, playing at a further Pro Bowl. The Colorado-born star played his last game in 2016 but did not officially retire until 2018.
Jackson’s death prompted a wave of mourning in the NFL community, including from a number of former teammates.
V Jax thank you for everything I love you big bro. Praying for your family Rest in Paradise
— Mike Evans (@MikeEvans13_) February 15, 2021