The National Football League takes another tragic hit.
A former superstar on and off the field has committed suicide, in an
eerily similar death to former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson.
The body of 43 year old Junior Seau was discovered by his girlfriend, in his home in Oceanside, California.
He had a gunshot wound to the chest.
His mother, Luisa Seau, was weeping uncontrollably as she appeared before reporters.
She said, "I don't understand. I don't understand who do this to my son, but i pray to god please take me, take me leave my son .. but it's too late , too late."
She said her son had given no indication of a problem when she spoke to him by phone earlier in the week, and that he was "joking" with her.
Seau was a standout linebacker with USC before going to the San Diego Chargers and leading them to the Super Bowl after the 1994 season. The team says in a statement that everyone with the Chargers "is in complete shock and disbelief" over the news.
In October of 2010, Seau survived a 100-foot plunge down a seaside cliff in his SUV, hours after he was arrested for investigation of domestic violence at the home he shared with his girlfriend. She had told authorities that he assaulted her during an argument.
Seau told authorities he fell asleep while driving. He suffered minor injuries.
Seau died almost exactly as former Bear Dave Duerson who shot himself in the chest, purposefully not in the head, as he left messages asking that his brain be studied for evidence that his playing days had damaged his mind .
Just as Duerson was a respected businessman after his playing days, Seau was beloved for his community service in San Diego
But near the end, both men spiraled into bizarre personal behavior that included domestic violence charges.
Dave Duerson's children have filed a lawsuit against the NFL, one of a growing number to accuse the league of covering up the known long term effects of head injuries suffered on the field.
Former Atlanta Falcons player Ray Easterling filed his suit last year, but the 62 year old shot himself last month.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)