San Diego lost Junior Seau five years ago today

San Diego lost Junior Seau five years ago today
Posted at 4:16 PM, May 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 15:56:47-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Five years ago today, San Diego lost a legend.

San Diego native and Chargers great Junior Seau, 43, tragically took his own life on May 2, 2012, in his North County home. 

While the Chargers may not be San Diego's anymore, Seau always was and continues to be.

"My brother was a loving brother, a caring citizen," Seau's sister, Annette, said at a press conference following her brother's death.

Seau was notably passionate about giving back to the San Diego community. The 10-time All-Pro and 12-time Pro Bowl selection created the Junior Seau Foundation in 1992. Since then, the organization has provided millions to organizations providing services to children and young adults. In December 2016, the foundation pledged  $250,000 to support brain injury research and education at UC San Diego.

RELATED: Junior Seau Foundation pledges $250K to support brain injury research at UC San Diego

"Junior was dedicated to community outreach and supporting young people with access to healthcare, education, recreation and safety from harm," Jay Kawano, president of the Junior Seau Foundation, said following the donation to UC San Diego.

In 1996, Seau would open a fan-favorite Mission Valley bar and restaurant, Seau's the Restaurant. The restaurant shut down the same month of Seau's death in 2012.

Seau also made personal donations to schools and other organizations.

Off the field, his contributions were well documented. On the field, his contributions were well known.

Seau was drafted fifth overall in 1990 by the Chargers, following his collegiate career at the University of Southern California where he was an All-American in 1989.

He served as the Charger's star linebacker from 1990-2002. Seau lead the team in tackles for eight seasons and posted 200 regular-season games played, tied for the second-most in team history with tackle Russ Washington. In 1994, he helped the Chargers to their first-ever Super Bowl appearance.

Seau would go on to play for the Miami Dolphins from 2003 to 2005 and the New England Patriots from 2006 to 2009. He was inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame in 2011 and inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2015.

"He would always say to me, 'I'm always a Charger. I went to Miami and New England, but I'm always a Charger,'" former Chargers head coach Norv Turner said in 2012. "His passion ... that's why he achieved the things he did. He had such a great impact on so many people. He will be missed."

Following his death, Seau was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease commonly associated with repeated blows to the head. The traumatic brain disease is commonly researched with athletes.

Seau is survived by a daughter and three sons.


San Diego County Crisis Line: 1-888-724-7240

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255