Junior Seau was so full of life that his sudden death is hard to fathom. But mental illness and depression does not discriminate. It takes out people from all walks of life, rich and poor, large and small.
Police confirmed that Seau died of a gunshot wound to the chest. They are calling it a suicide. His girlfriend called 911 and life-saving measures were unsuccessful.
It is a sad, stunning blow to everyone that knew Seau. A leader on and off the field, Seau was known for his sunny attitude.
"He never had a bad day, ever," one friend told Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com.
Those who suffer with depression often do so in silence, without many of those closest to them knowing. There is so much we don't know about Seau's death, but it's hard not to think about former Bears defender Dave Duerson's recent suicide. Duerson shot himself in the chest and requested that his brain be studied for signs of disease. In October of 2010, Seau survived a crash where his car plummeted 100-feet down a cliff. Seau told authorities he fell asleep while driving.
It's also hard not to think about the timing of Seau's death coming on the same day the player discipline was announced in the Saints bounty case. Protecting players' health has become a greater priority in the NFL than ever. There is just so much we don't know.
"This is hard to comprehend," former teammate Mike Vrabel told Tom Curran of CSNNE.com. "I wish we could figure out why and help these guys who have a hard time after football."
"Why are we losing so many great warriors who are great people We have to take a longer look at what this great game is doing to us," Warren Moon wrote on Twitter.
Seau's life deserves to be celebrated and it will be. But the overwhelming emotion in the football community after Seau's death will be a deep sadness about a life lost too soon.