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08/19/2013 02:06 pm ET

The Violent Life And Sudden Death Of Junior Seau

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When the legendary NFL linebacker retired for good in 2010, he seemed set for life: supremely wealthy, beloved across the league, a hero in his hometown of San Diego. Two years later, he was dead. On a lonely morning in a big empty house, Seau shot himself through the chest. It's no longer a secret how much damage pro football can do to the men who play it, but never before had we witnessed it destroy a genuine superstar—not until Junior Seau. in this GQ special report, Seau's friends and former teammates try to make sense of how a life so filled with triumph could go so wrong so fast.

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