Ex-NFL receiver Vincent Jackson died of 'chronic alcohol use,' medical examiner says

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The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office determined that ex-NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson died of "chronic alcohol use," according to an autopsy report released Wednesday.

According to the accompanying toxicology report, Jackson had a blood-alcohol content of 0.28% when he was found dead in a Florida hotel room earlier this year, at the age of 38. His family later told authorities that they believed he suffered from alcoholism.

The medical examiner categorized the manner of death as "natural."

The autopsy report also noted that Jackson suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, more commonly known as CTE. His family announced last week the three-time Pro Bowl selection had stage 2 CTE at the time of his death, as diagnosed by experts at Boston University. Stage 4 is the most severe.

In a story published by The New York Times last week, Jackson's widow, Lindsey, said her late husband used alcohol to deal with the lasting side effects of head trauma he experienced during his career. She told the newspaper that Jackson had indicated his brain sometimes "felt fuzzy" and that he had said alcohol helped.

A second-round draft pick out of Northern Colorado, Jackson was a stalwart at wide receiver for both the then-San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, starting 137 games and catching more than 500 passes over 12 years in the NFL.

He was also highly regarded as a teammate and community member, including his work with the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation, which benefits military families.

Vincent Jackson, football, 1983-2021
Vincent Jackson, football, 1983-2021

Jackson retired in 2018 and went on to become a businessman, with a number of ventures ranging from restaurants to real estate.

Jackson had been staying at a Homewood Suites on the outskirts of Tampa, Florida, for more than a month when his family reported him as missing in February. After he made contact with law enforcement, hotel staff saw him "seated on the couch, slouched over" in his room on consecutive days but believed he was sleeping, according to a preliminary report from the medical examiner's office. A staff member called 911 the next day when a housekeeper found him in the same position.

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Vincent Jackson's cause of death: 'chronic alcohol use,' per autopsy