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Aaron Hernandez’s Murder Victim’s Family Reacts to His Suicide: ‘This Is God’s Will’

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Before disgraced NFL star Aaron Hernandez hanged himself in his prison cell earlier this week, in Massachusetts, he was convicted or acquitted of killing three other people — whose families each had their own reactions to Hernandez’s death.

“I’m not happy about his death. It’s actually a shame,” Ernesto Abreu told the Boston Globe. “Any loss of life is a shame. I believe in leaving things in God’s hands.”

Abreu’s 29-year-old son, Daniel de Abreu, was killed in 2012 along with Safiro Furtado, 28, one of Daniel’s friends. Prosecutors alleged that Hernandez fatally shot both men in a drive-by, but he was found not guilty of those murder charges last week.

Five days after his acquittal, Hernandez, 27, killed himself.

The former New England Patriots tight end was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole after being convicted of orchestrating the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, who died in 2013.

“Only God has the right to take somebody’s life,” Furtado’s father, Salvatore, said after Hernandez’s suicide, according to the Globe.

“It’s very painful to me when somebody takes their own life,” he said.

Aaron Hernandez
Brian Snyder/AP
Odin Lloyd’s family reacts during Aaron Hernandez’s arraignment for Lloyd’s 2013 murder.
The Sun Chronicle/Mike George/Pool/AP

An attorney representing Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, told the Boston Herald that she “is obviously having a good deal of mixed emotions.”

“She believes — as she is an extremely religious woman — that this is God’s will,” Doug Sheff said. “She is sad for all of the others effected by this horrible event.”

On the day of Hernandez’s sentencing, in April 2015, Ward shared her heartbreak with the court, saying in part, “I will never get to have grandchildren from my son. I will never get to dance at his wedding. I will never again get to hear him say, ‘Ma, you’re beautiful, I love you.’ ”

“I forgive the hands of the people who had a hand in my son’s murder,” Ward said then. “I pray and hope that someday, other people will forgive them also.”

Salvatore’s attorney, William Kennedy, told the Herald on Wednesday that “[Salvatore] also understands, just like the loss [he has] had and his family has had, the Hernandez family is going through perhaps something similar, and they take no joy in what happened to him and more particularly to his family.”

Under an obscure legal doctrine in Massachusetts, Hernandez’s murder conviction in Lloyd’s killing will actually be voided, as he had not exhausted all of his appeals upon his death, Martin Healy, the chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Bar Association, told PEOPLE.

Salvatore Furtado, the father of Safiro Furtado, on May 15, 2014.
Elise Amendola/AP
Ernesto Abreu, the father of Daniel de Abreu, on May 15, 2014.
Elise Amendola/AP

Olivia Thibou, Lloyd’s sister, declined to say much when speaking to Bleacher Report, but she did reveal how she first learned about the news of Hernandez’s death: from Shaneah Jenkins, Lloyd’s girlfriend before he was killed.

“I just started crying,” Thibou told the site of her reaction.

“I’m just … confused,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense. The timing doesn’t make any sense.”

Thibou said her sister, Shaquilla, visited their brother’s grave after the suicide news broke. Then Shaquilla posted on Facebook: “Not every death deserves an RIP…..”

All three families — none of whom could be reached by PEOPLE — will reportedly move forward with civil suits against Hernandez’s estate.

“They were good people who deserved to live,” Kennedy told the Herald, “and that was robbed from them and their companionship was robbed from their families.”