The February death of former NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson was due to chronic alcohol use, the Hillsborough County (Fla.) Medical Examiner announced Wednesday.
The medical examiner ruled the death “natural.” Jackson, who was 38, was found dead in a hotel room in Brandon, Fla.
Earlier this week, the Concussion Legacy Foundation announced that Jackson was diagnosed with Stage 2 chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the progressive brain disease that has affected many football players.
Jackson played 12 NFL seasons with the then-San Diego Chargers (2005-11) and Tampa Buccaneers (2012-16). He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection who caught 540 passes for 9,080 yards and 57 touchdowns.
In the months prior to his death, Jackson reportedly dealt with depression, progressive memory loss, mood swings, paranoia and extreme social isolation — all considered symptoms of CTE.
According to the autopsy, Jackson suffered from alcoholic cardiomyopathy, hepatic steatosis and fibrosis, esophageal varices, ascites, jaundice, remote pancreatitis, renal failure and hyponatremia dehydration, cardiovascular disease and intoxication by ethyl alcohol.
During his tenure with the Chargers, Jackson was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in both 2006 and 2009. He served a three-game suspension in 2010.
Jackson was found in his room by hotel workers on Feb. 15. It was the third time straight day that Jackson was slouched on the coach in a similar manner when a worker entered the room.
Jackson had been staying at the hotel since Jan. 11. His family filed a missing-persons report Feb. 11, and deputies located him at the hotel Feb. 12 and spoke with him. The missing-persons case was canceled, and deputies deemed Jackson fit to stay at the hotel.
–Field Level Media