Greeley Tribune, Colo.
Dec. 23—Medical examiners determined former NFL player and University of Northern Colorado standout Vincent Jackson died from chronic alcohol use, ESPN reported on Wednesday.
Jackson died at age 38 in February. He was staying at a hotel near Tampa, Florida, when a housekeeper found the longtime athlete and entrepreneur.
At the time, Jackson’s family had reported him missing after not hearing from him for several days. Relatives also publicly spoke about his struggles with alcoholism. His cause of death was not released at the time.
The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner said in its report that his death was considered “natural.”
Additionally, the autopsy report indicated that Jackson dealt with other medical concerns that are consistent with chronic alcohol use, including renal failure and alcoholic cardiomyopathy — when the heart muscle is weakened from alcohol use. Jackson also had enlarged esophageal veins, which often occur in people with liver disease, cardiovascular disease and remote pancreatitis.
Jackson’s blood alcohol level at the time of his death was 0.28%. Many states consider drivers drunk when they hit a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration.
This announcement comes just one week after it was revealed that Jackson suffered from Stage 2 chronic traumatic encephalopathy from his time playing football.
Jackson retired in 2016, hoping to prevent an early death and be able to help others. Prior to his death, Jackson owned several restaurants, wrote children’s books, founded a nonprofit to help military families and supported his alma mater. He provided a large donation for UNC’s new strength and conditioning center, helped support administration in approaching conversations about racism and provided input during the football program’s coaching search.
His widow, Lindsey Jackson, told the New York Times that he wanted to help people.
“It’s not the ending he wanted,” she said.
UNC football honored Jackson this season when it honored him and his family. His number, though not technically retired, was placed at Nottingham Field for all fans to see.
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