Funeral held for ex-NFL player Aaron Hernandez

**EMBARGO: Hartford, CT** A private funeral service is scheduled for 1-3 p.m. Monday for the former New England Patriots tight end, who was found hanged in his cell in a maximum-security prison in Massachusetts last week.

Mourners said their goodbyes on Monday to ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez, who was convicted of murder in 2015 and killed himself in his prison cell last week.

Also on Monday, a Massachusetts Superior Court Justice ordered Hernandez’s purported suicide notes released to this family in time for the private funeral service in Hernandez’s hometown of Bristol, Connecticut.

Hernandez, 27, the former tight end for the New England Patriots was found hanged in his cell early Wednesday morning. Authorities said he committed suicide. Three handwritten notes were found in the cell next to a Bible authorities said then.

The notes released to Hernandez’s family were of a personal nature, but not all were necessarily written to members of Hernandez’s family, Paul Jarvey, a spokesman from the Worcester County district attorney’s office.

In a brief statement after the service, Hernandez’s family thanked the public for their condolences and said they wished to memorialize him in private, CNN affiliate WTNH reported.

“They love him and they miss him,” Harvard Law professor Ronald Sullivan, who was working with attorney Jose Baez on Hernandez’s defense, said reading the statement.

Pittsburgh Steeler Center Maurkice Pouncey and his twin brother Mike, a center with the Miami Dolphins, attended Hernandez’s funeral. The brothers were teammates with Hernandez at the University of Florida.

Hernandez was a fourth-round draft pick in 2010 and signed a contract extension worth up to $40 million in 2012.

Less than a year later he was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd.

Hernandez was convicted and sentenced to life without possibility of parole on April 15, 2015.

This month, he was acquitted of two other murders.