TAMPA — Former Bucs receiver Vincent Jackson suffered from chronic alcoholism and other health issues prior to being found dead in a Brandon hotel room, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said Wednesday.
In addition, Jackson’s family has concerns that he may have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive and fatal disease associated with concussions, Chronister said during an appearance on the M.J. Morning Show on Q105.
However, Jackson’s family said in a statement later in the day that Chronister had no authority to speak for them: “Sheriff Chronister does not speak on behalf of the Jackson family. The full autopsy report will not be available for weeks. Our focus right now is on laying Vincent to rest.”
Jackson, 38, was found dead Monday after a 911 call from the Homewood Suites in Brandon, where he had been living since Jan. 11.
A few days prior to his death, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department executed a missing persons report and interviewed Jackson at the hotel.
At around 11:30 a.m. Monday, a housekeeper found Jackson unresponsive in his room and called 911.
“We got the autopsy report back that is going to be released today,” Chronister said during his radio appearance. “Unfortunately, he suffered from chronic alcoholism. Again, just tragic. We haven’t gotten the toxicology report back, so can’t say with any certainty that was it. But a lot of longstanding health conditions that contributed to his passing because of some alcohol abuse.”
Chronister said the Jackson family suspected that the Pro Bowl receiver suffered from CTE, the result of multiple concussions during a 12-year career in the NFL with the Bucs and Chargers.
“This is just speculation, but what the family is telling me is that he suffered from CTE,” Chronister said. “They believe he had a lot of concussion problems. When you suffer from that, you’re not yourself, you’re not your normal self. And they believe wholeheartedly all of these actions are a result of what he suffered while he was playing in the NFL.”
The Sheriff’s Office said later Wednesday the autopsy results may not be released for a couple weeks and that Chronister’s statements were based on statements made by relatives of Jackson to detectives.
“It could be several weeks before we know what led to the untimely and tragic death of Vincent Jackson,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s office continues to conduct a thorough investigation alongside the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Based on statements made by relatives of Jackson to detectives, his family had reason to believe he may have suffered from chronic alcoholism and concussions, however the exact cause and manner of Mr. Jackson’s death will not be certain until his autopsy, among other reports, is compete.”
Jackson was as well known for his charitable efforts in the community through his Jackson in Action 83 Foundation that helped military families as for his accomplishments on the field. The foundation will continue, even without its creator.
“Again, just tragic,” Chronister said. “Thirty-eight years old, and to have the impact he had on this community. He would never say no. He’s the person you would call and say, ‘Hey, I have something we want to do for a child in need, a family in need, a military member in need,’ and he was always there. I don’t know how he balanced the schedule.”