Former NFL player died of ‘chronic alcohol use,’ autopsy shows

The Hillsborough County, Florida, medical examiner’s report, released this week, shows that Jackson’s death in February was considered “natural” and the cause was listed as “chronic alcohol use.”

He was found dead in a hotel room on February 15 in Brandon, Florida, with no apparent signs of trauma, officials said at the time. His family had reported him missing less than a week prior, CNN reported.

“Vincent Jackson was a brilliant, disciplined, gentle giant whose life began to change in his mid-30s. He became depressed, with progressive memory loss, problem solving difficulties, paranoia, and eventually extreme social isolation,” said Dr. Ann McKee, chief of neuropathology for the VA Boston Healthcare System and director of the BU CTE Center and VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank.

CTE is a progressive degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive head trauma, according to the Concussion Legacy Foundation. Stage 2 CTE, which can only be diagnosed through an autopsy, is associated with behavioral symptoms like aggression, impulsivity, depression, anxiety, paranoia, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation, along with progressive cognitive symptoms, according to the foundation.

CNN’s Tina Burnside, Homero de la Fuente and Melissa Alonso contributed to this report.

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