Earlier this year in February, we reported that former NFL star Vincent Jackson was found dead at the Homewood Suites in Brandon, Fla. He was 38.
At the time, a cause of death had yet to be determined, and police reported that there were no apparent signs of trauma. As is standard procedure, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation into the matter, and on Wednesday, the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner revealed the cause of Jackson’s death.
From CBS Sports:
According to the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s office, Jackson suffered from alcoholic cardiomyopathy, a condition that occurs when long-term alcohol use weakens the heart muscle. A toxicology report showed that three measurements of Jackson’s blood alcohol content ranged from 0.28 to 0.32, about four times beyond what is considered impairment in the state of Florida.
Jackson was found to have several blunt contusions to his head, torso, and extremities, and also had a mild case of atherosclerosis—a condition in which plaque buildup leads to a hardening of the arteries. While Jackson was found to have small cuts to his scalp and left big toe, there were no skull fractures.
According to a report by Jenna Laine of ESPN, other conditions that Jackson suffered from—all related to chronic alcohol use—included hepatic steatosis and fibrosis, esophageal varices, ascites, jaundice, remote pancreatitis, renal failure and hyponatremia dehydration, cardiovascular disease and intoxication by ethyl alcohol.
While the 12-year NFL vet had an incredible career on the field, his impact off of it was equally as profound, as we previously noted at The Root:
Jackson is not only remembered for his prolific career on the field—in 12 seasons, he recorded 57 touchdowns and six 1,000-yard seasons—but his generosity and goodwill off of it. He was nominated by the Buccaneers for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award four years in a row, won the NFL’s Salute to Service Award in 2015, and founded the non-profit Jackson in Action 83 to provide military families with much-needed resources and support. That endeavor included reading to children, arranging charity games to raise money for military families, awarding college scholarships, and hosting baby showers for military moms.
Clearly, his passing came as a shock to the NFL community, considering he was a consummate professional who pretty much wrote the blueprint for how professional athletes are expected to conduct themselves off of the field, but his death also points to the tremendous burden of those same expectations and how oftentimes those we idolize feel as though they aren’t allowed to be human, too.
Additionally, the Concussion Legacy Foundation recently revealed that Jackson also suffered from Stage 2 chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Jackson is survived by his wife, Lindsey, and their four children.