Aaron Hernandez's brain heading to researchers

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Aaron Hernandez's apparent suicide in prison - just days after the former NFL star was cleared of additional murder charges - remains shrouded in mystery. (WPVI)

Authorities in Massachusetts say Aaron Hernandez's brain is being turned over to university researchers now that they've ruled his death in prison a suicide.

The Worcester County district attorney says the state's chief medical examiner had withheld some tissue samples from the ex-NFL star's brain as part of the effort to confirm he took his own life.

Now that that's not in question, officials say the brain will be released to Boston University's Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center in accordance with the wishes of Hernandez's family.

The center is a leader in research into the effects of concussions on the brain - something the NFL has been preoccupied with in recent years.

Earlier Thursday, Hernandez's lawyer Jose Baez had accused the medical examiner of "illegally" holding the brain.

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