Vincent Jackson's family had declared him missing five days before he was found dead in a hotel suite.
In an unfortunate turn of events, former NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson, 38, was found dead in a hotel room on February 15 morning, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office announced. The three-time Pro Bowler with the then-San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers was staying at Homewood Suites, just a few miles outside of Tampa, and he was discovered by a housekeeper around 11.30 a.m. ET.
His family had called the authorities on February 10 to report that he was missing, and a formal report was filed the next day, reports CNN. The Sheriff's Office officials located the NFL player on February 12 and spoke to him, as per the news release. "After assessing Jackson's well-being, the missing person case was canceled," the release said.
However, just a few days later, he was found dead. It was also announced that there were "no apparent signs of trauma" on his body. Spokesperson Crystal Clark told USA Today that authorities do not believe a crime occurred, nor suspect foul play.
Our hearts go out to the friends and family of Vincent Jackson, former UNC Football standout and San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers star. https://t.co/KffI6rwloH— Univ. of Northern Colorado (@UNC_Colorado) February 15, 2021
He was married for nearly 10 years to Lindsey VanDeweghe and they have three children, Carter, Amaya, and Dominick, according to Heavy.com. He had proposed to his wife while accepting the honor of being inducted to the UNC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011. When he went on stage, he said to VanDeweghe, "I love you. I will always love you. I want to start a family with you. I want to spend the rest of my days with you. You are my soulmate. Will you marry me?” She said "yes" and the couple married on July 16, 2011. After his retirement, he made South Tampa his home, where he lived with his family.
"My heart aches for the many loved ones Vincent Jackson leaves behind, from his wife and children to the Buccaneers nation that adored him," Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. "Mr. Jackson was a devoted man who put his family and community above everything else. Football aside, he touched countless lives through his Jackson In Action 83 Foundation. We shared a passion for supporting military families, and three years ago, Jackson was even made an honorary deputy by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to recognize his dedication to the community. He will be sorely missed by not only football fans across the country but also the people here in Hillsborough County who reaped the benefits of his generous contributions," he added, according to CNN.
BREAKING (Awful). The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Vincent Jackson. Jackson, 38, was found deceased on Monday, February 15, 2021, at the Homewood Suites located at 10240 Palm River Road in Brandon, Florida. pic.twitter.com/SOTftyGnSx— Josh Benson (@WFLAJosh) February 15, 2021
Jackson, the son of two Army veterans, was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He graduated from high school with a 4.1-grade point average and then played for both the basketball and football teams at Northern Colorado, and excelled in both, writes USA Today.
He was first selected by the Chargers in the second round of the 2005 draft. He spent seven years in San Diego before signing with the Buccaneers as a free agent in 2012. Between 2009 and 2012, he made three Pro Bowls. He played 12 seasons in the league. He last played in 2016 after a knee injury. He retired in 2018.
The Chargers released a statement saying they were "shocked and deeply saddened" by the news of his death, according to CNN. "Vincent was a fan favorite not only for his Pro Bowl play on the field but for the impact he made on the community off of it," the statement read. "The work he has done on behalf of military families through his foundation in the years since his retirement has been an inspiration to all of us."
Jackson's latest team, the Buccaneers, who recently won the Super Bowl, said in a statement that he was "a consummate professional" when he was with them. "Vincent was a dedicated father, husband, businessman, and philanthropist, who made a deep impact on our community through his unyielding advocacy for military families, supported by the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation," the statement read.