Former NFL star Junior Seau is dead.  The linebacker was found in his San Diego home on Wednesday with a gunshot wound to the chest, which authorities are investigating as a suicide.  San Diego Sheriff's deputies said he was found by his girlfriend, and lifesaving attempts at the scene were unsuccessful.  Seau was 43.

WATCH as Seau's mother, Luisa Seau, breaks down talking about her son with reporters in front of his house shortly after news broke of Seau's death HERE:

Seau played for the San Diego Chargers - whom he helped lead to their only Super Bowl appearance - from the time he was drafted out of USC in 1990 until being traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2002.  He later joined the New England Patriots, before retiring in 2009.  Over the course of his 20-season career, Seau played in 12 straight Pro Bowls and was named a 1st-Team All-Pro six times.

The San Diego Chargers released the following statement on the death of Junior Seau: "Everyone at the Chargers is in complete shock and disbelief right now. We ask everyone to stop what they're doing and send their prayers to Junior and his family."

The USC Athletic Department tweeted out the news on Wednesday afternoon:

In October 2010, Seau suffered minor injuries when the SUV he was driving plunged 100 feet off a California cliff.  The accident came just hours after he was arrested following a domestic violence incident at his Oceanside home.  Seau told authorities he fell asleep behind the wheel, and tests revealed alcohol and drugs were not involved in the crash.

WATCH this tribute to Seau's career from the San Diego Chargers YouTube channel:

Seau started the Junior Seau Foundation in 1992, which describes its mission as "to educate and empower young people through the support of child abuse prevention, drug and alcohol awareness, recreational opportunities, anti-juvenile delinquency efforts and complimentary educational programs."  Seau leaves behind three children with his ex-wife.