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The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers star's family reported him missing early last week

By Jason Duaine Hahn
February 15, 2021 05:41 PM
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Vincent Jackson
Cliff McBride/Getty Images
| Credit: Cliff McBride/Getty Images

Vincent Jackson, a 12-year veteran of the NFL who dedicated much of his time off the field helping military families, was found dead in his Florida hotel room on Monday.

The body of the 38-year-old former wide receiver, who played for the San Diego Chargers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during his professional career, was discovered at the Homewood Suites in Brandon, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

A cause of death will be determined in the coming days following an examination by the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office, but the Sheriff's Office said no signs of trauma were immediately found on Jackson.

HCSO's investigation into Jackson's death is ongoing.

The former NFL star's family members reported him missing on Feb. 11, according to the department, but HCSO located him at the hotel the next day, spoke to the player and the missing persons case was canceled.

Staff told authorities that Jackson, a resident of South Tampa, had been at the hotel since Jan. 11.

"My heart aches for the many loved ones Vincent Jackson leaves behind, from his wife and children to the Buccaneers nation that adored him," Sheriff Chad Chronister said. "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."

Vincent Jackson
Credit: Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

"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," Chronister said. "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."

While he did not serve in the military, Jackson's parents were both members of the U.S. Army, he told Sporting News last year. These ties to the military were something he kept close at heart and was one of the reasons he started JacksonInAction83, a foundation to help military families and their children.

"We are all mourning the loss of our beloved Vincent," the foundation said in a post to Facebook on Monday.

Following the announcement, many took to social media to pay tribute to Jackson, who was selected to three Pro Bowls before officially retiring in 2018, ESPN reported.

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"Man... just got home out of the blizzard. Vincent Jackson passed away??" radio host Pat McAfee wrote on Twitter. "He was a damn good football player.. I'm absolutely bummed for everybody involved. Gone way too soon. Rest easy boss man."

"I have no words. I'm in complete shock," ESPN reporter Jenna Laine said in a tweet. "I needed to pull over while driving. This is crushing in every possible way. Vincent Jackson was a cherished member of the Buccaneers and our community."

Jackson caught 272 passes for 4,754 yards and 37 touchdowns during his seven seasons in San Diego, according to NBC Sports. After signing with Tampa Bay in 2012, he was good for 268 catches for 4,326 yards and 20 touchdowns in 63 games.