It comes with great sadness to report this heartbreaking news that has come in earlier this month. A former NFL player for the San Francisco 49ers has died at his home in Dixon, California. His wife speaks out after his passing.
At this time, we are asking our readers to keep the family in their thoughts and prayers as they try to navigate through this difficult time. Many fans and fellow athletes have shared their condolences with the family through social media sites. Will you join us?
“He was the love of my life. I just want him back, I want him back so bad," his wife said.
Jason Hairston died on Tuesday, September 4 by suicide. He was 47 years old. He had reportedly been struggling with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) just weeks before his suicide, according to Fox News.
"We are incredibly saddened to report that Jason Hairston, the visionary leader and founder of KUIU, was found dead at his home in Dixon, CA on September 4, 2018. He took his own life," the Hairston family wrote in a statement.
"He is survived by his wife Kirstyn and two children. The family has requested that donations be made to support CTE-related research at the Boston University Concussion Legacy Foundation in lieu of sending flowers."
Wife Opens Up
Hairston's wife Kirstyn Hairston recently opened up about her husband's struggles. She said that his symptoms began to worsen leading up to his death.
Kirstyn told PEOPLE that Hairston's memory had been fading due to the degenerative brain disease found in some athletes and other people who have had repetitive brain trauma.
“We were sitting in our bedroom, and Jason’s a tough guy, but he finally had a vulnerable moment with me,” Kirstyn told the magazine.
“He said, ‘It’s bad, I can’t remember anything anymore, I can’t remember people’s names.’ Then he said, ‘Please don’t leave me.’ I told him I never would. I told him, ‘I promise you, I will always take care of you.’”
Hairston went to the doctors and underwent several brain scans. His doctors discovered that his frontal lobe, the part that manages impulse, judgment, and memory, was "completely compromised." He began showing signs of early dementia and his brain was deteriorating despite hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments.
Hairston played football in high school and college before he got offered a spot for the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos. In 1996, he retired at age 24 due to neck problems and began showing CTE symptoms shortly after, Kirstyn said.
Hairston is survived by his wife and two children. Will you join us in praying for the family?