Hernandez family planning private funeral in Connecticut

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez's body was taken to a funeral home in his Connecticut hometown Saturday, two days before his family holds a private funeral.

The body arrived in the afternoon at O'Brien Funeral Home in Bristol, said Laura Soll, a spokeswoman for the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association.

A private service is scheduled at the funeral home Monday from 1 to 3 p.m. Soll said the burial will be private at an undisclosed location.

The former New England Patriots tight end was found hanged in his cell at a maximum-security prison in Massachusetts early Wednesday. He was serving a life sentence for a 2013 murder in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, and had just been acquitted of a 2012 double murder in Boston. His death was ruled a suicide.

The Funeral Directors Association also released a statement from Hernandez's family on Saturday.

''The family of Aaron Hernandez wishes to thank all of you for the thoughtful expressions of condolences,'' the statement said. ''We wish to say goodbye to Aaron in a private ceremony and thank everyone in advance for affording us a measure of privacy during this difficult time.''

After the Massachusetts medical examiner ruled the death a suicide, Hernandez's brain was taken to Boston University, where scientists will study it for any signs of repeated trauma suffered during his years of playing football.

A judge on Friday ordered key evidence in the prison suicide preserved, granting a request from Hernandez's fiancee so the family can investigate the circumstances of his death.

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