Junior Seau remembered at paddle-out

OCEANSIDE (CNS) – Friends and fans of ex-Chargers linebacker Junior
Seau, who killed himself Wednesday with a shot to the chest, held a paddle-out memorial in front of his waterfront home in Oceanside Sunday.

Seau was an avid surfer.

A private church memorial is scheduled for Friday, followed by a public celebration of Seau's life at Qualcomm Stadium Friday night. Also, a public
remembrance on Saturday will be held at Oceanside High School, where Seau graduated
in 1987.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office on Thursday confirmed
that Seau committed suicide. Oceanside police said a gun was found near his
body.

The public's response to Seau's death was swift. Crowds gathered outside
his home, and makeshift memorials soon sprung up there, at his namesake
restaurant in Mission Valley and at Chargers offices in Murphy Canyon.

Seau, who was of Samoan descent, was also known locally as a
philanthropist, focused largely on helping vulnerable youths in and around
Oceanside, home to one of the largest populations of South Pacific islanders in
the country.

In 1992, he created the Junior Seau Foundation, an organization formed
to raise money and other resources for programs that educate young people and
guide them on positive paths. The 20th anniversary Junior Seau Celebrity Golf
Classic fundraiser was held in March at La Costa Resort and Spa.

Seau, 43, had been a standout athlete at the University of Southern
California. He would later play 20 seasons in the National Football League,
mostly for the Chargers, but also for the Miami Dolphins and New England
Patriots.

Considered one of the best linebackers in the game, he was elected to 12
consecutive Pro Bowls as a member of the Chargers. He retired from football
in 2010.

Signs of something wrong behind Seau's ever-sunny public persona
surfaced about 18 months ago. On Oct. 18, 2010, he was arrested after his 25-
year-old live-in girlfriend reported that he had assaulted her.

Later that morning, five hours after bailing out of jail, he drove his
2004 Cadillac Escalade over a 30-foot coastal cliff and onto Carlsbad State
Beach, suffering minor injuries.

Seau told police he fell asleep at the wheel. The San Diego County
District Attorney's Office declined to charge Seau with domestic abuse.

Some sports medicine experts have suggested Seau may have suffered brain
damage from repeated blows to the head, and that may have brought on
depression. On Friday, his family announced that a sample of his brain would be
examined for evidence of football-related damage.

Seau is survived by two sons and daughter by ex-wife Gina Deboer. They
divorced in 2002.

Categories: KUSI