Junior Seau spent Monday morning surfing in San Clemente and that afternoon playing in a charity golf tournament in Dana Point. He joked with his playing partners, was the first to offer fist bumps after clutch putts, sought out course workers to pose for pictures with him and seemed like a retired NFL superstar without a care.
Less than two days later, in a bedroom of his beachfront home in Oceanside, while his girlfriend was at the gym, Seau, among the greatest linebackers in football history, put a handgun to his chest and pulled the trigger.
His girlfriend returned home around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and found Seau's lifeless body on a bed, the gun beside him. She frantically tried CPR, a 9-1-1 operator calmly talking her through the steps, but the desperate attempt was futile.
The suicide of Seau, 43, sent shock waves through the sports world, which struggled to make sense of the death of a pro football icon who ostensibly had it all — good looks, a superhero's build, adoring fans, fame, money and a happy-go-lucky habit of greeting friends and strangers alike with a gregarious, "Hey, buddy!"