No foul play was suspected, and though few details have been released, police say the athlete appears to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
"Life-saving efforts were performed, however they were not successful," said Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy, reports NBC LA. "This case at this point is being investigated as a suicide," McCoy continued.
His mother Luisa Seau said she was in church when she heard the news, "I pray to God, 'Take me, take me, leave my son.' But it's too late," she told reporters at an impromptu press conference.
A neighbor said he saw Seau smiling and happy and playing the ukulele on his balcony just two days ago, notes the L.A. Times.
Long-time friend Kevin Hardyway said, "Junior’s always been in good spirits...If something is bothering him, you won't know."
In October 2010, Seau was injured when his SUV crashed over a cliff in Carlsbad following an arrest on suspicion of domestic violence.
Watching and reading all the coverage on Junior Seau..Heartbreaking and tragic..Prayers to his family and friends..— Erin Andrews (@ErinAndrews) May 2, 2012
Junior Seau was one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. He was a great leader, teammate, and friend. He will be missed.— DOUG FLUTIE (@DougFlutie) May 2, 2012
#RIP Junior Seau. Great friend and competitor..... Had great times together. Will be missed.— Michael Strahan (@michaelstrahan) May 2, 2012
Tragic news regarding the passing of Junior Seau. His passion for the game was unparalleled. One of the great LB's of our time. #fighton— Clay Matthews III (@ClayMatthews52) May 2, 2012
All of us are deeply saddened about Junior Seau, a great player loved by teammates who also worked hard to serve his community. ...— Roger Goodell (@nflcommish) May 2, 2012
Wow. And then we lose Junior Seau...not such a beautiful day after all. RIP— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) May 2, 2012