Former 49ers linebacker Jason Hairston, 47, died on Wednesday. It was later revealed that Hairston took his own life.
“We are shocked and saddened to announce the tragic passing of KUIU founder Jason Hairston," Hairston's hunting company, KUIU, wrote on Twitter Wednesday, confirming the news.
The company later revealed on its website that Hairston “took his own life."
"He is survived by his wife Kirstyn and 2 children," KUIU added. "The family has requested that donations be made to support CTE-related research at the Boston University Concussion Legacy Foundation in lieu of sending flowers."
In an interview in 2016 Hairston told CNBC that he was suffering from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, which is a degenerative brain disease found in athletes, military veterans, and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma. Research has shown that football players in particular are sufferers of CTE.
The disease can only be confirmed after death.
“I played linebacker, and the way I played the game, I led with my head. I played the way they tell us not to play now,” Hairston told CNBC. “I have all the symptoms of CTE.”
Hairston was a starting linebacker for the University of California, Davis in college before signing as a free agent with the San Francisco 49ers in 1995.
He was traded to the Denver Broncos a year later and retired in 1996. Following his football career, Hairston founded hunting clothing company KUIU in 2010.