Lawrence Phillips, the former football star facing murder charges, was found dead early Wednesday at Kern Valley State Prison, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Terry Thornton told USA TODAY Sports.
The death is being investigated as a suspected suicide, according to press release from the department.
Phillips, 40, was facing the possible death penalty in the alleged murder of his former cellmate at Kern Valley State Prison.
It's a tragic end to what was already a depressing life story.
After a tumultuous collegiate career at Nebraska, Phillips was the sixth overall selection in the 1996 NFL Draft, selected as the spearhead replacement for Jerome Bettis in the Rams' rushing attack. On November 20, 1997, just two years into the NFL, the Rams released Phillips. Then Head Coach Dick Vermeil called him the best running back he had ever coached. He spent the next three seasons with three other teams before heading to the Arena Football League and Canadian Football League.
Phillips was notorious for his legal troubles throughout his time in college and the NFL. Those legal troubles didn't end with his football career. A variety of charges from 2005 to 2009 resulted ultimately in a 25-year sentence at Kern Valley State Prison in central California.
Last April, Phillips was named a suspect in the death of his cellmate.
In September, he was charged with first-degree murder.
He was found dead this morning.
Lawrence Phillips was 40 years old.