By Erik Anderson
San Diego is saying goodbye to a sports icon this week. Residents were shocked to learn of the suicide of Junior Seau, the charismatic linebacker who spent 13 seasons with his hometown Chargers.
If there was one moment that captured the grief caused Seau’s death, it happened on Wednesday morning. Luisa Seau, Junior’s mom, approached television cameras outside of her son’s home. She spoke briefly of their last conversations, and then was overwhelmed.
“He never say something for me. Junior, ahhh. Why you never telling me you going? And I pray to God. Take me. Take me. Leave my son alone. Alone. alone.”
Fans gathered at the home all day. They left flowers, figurines, and prayers. On the beach nearby, several people used large stones to create a cross.
They scrawled R.I.P. in the sand, along with the number 55. Seau made the uniform number famous when he played for the Chargers. His death also drew fans to the San Diego restaurant bearing his name, which had shut down for the day.
Carolyn Mitchell says she will remember his personality.
“A big face and a big smile,” she said. “A kind person. A very kind person.”
Mitchell brought a small bouquet of yellow flowers. She left them at the front door of the eatery and then paused.
“I had shared a prayer to myself and to him. That may he rest in peace and whatever was bothering him, I hope that he find peace now and I pray for his family.”
Seau was known his relentless pursuit of opposing football players on the field and for his relentless fundraising off the field. He raised more than $4 million for the children’s charity that bears his name.
Another fan, Ruben Escabosa, met Seau through a business partner. He called the death a shock for the community.
“He was bigger than life. And he was very proud of his roots. Specifically Oceanside and his high school [team], the Oceanside Pirates, and his heritage,” Escabosa said. “He was very proud and promoted and supported his Samoan heritage, which I think is very important.”