To most, Aaron Hernandez was a villain.
To Dolphins center Mike Pouncey, he remained a friend to the end.
Hernandez, the Patriots tight end-turned-convicted murderer, hanged himself in his prison cell early Wednesday morning, according to officials.
Pouncey, who was close with Hernandez since their time together at the University of Florida, said goodbye on Instagram hours later.
“To my friend my brother! Through thick and thin right or wrong we never left each other’s side,” Pouncey wrote, beside a picture of a smiling Hernandez in a Patriots uniform.
“Today my heart hurts as I got the worse news I could have imagined. It was just a day ago we shared our last convo. I will forever miss you and love you bro. we will meet again rest easy!”
Hernandez killed himself just a week after his acquittal on double murder charges.
He was still serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole after he was convicted of killing associate Odin Lloyd four years ago.
Pouncey was steadfast in his support of Hernandez, even wearing a Free Hernandez hat to his birthday party just weeks after Hernandez’s initial arrest.
Months later, Pouncey was subpoenaed as part of the state of Massachusetts’ investigation, getting served the papers in the bowels of Gillette Stadium in Foxborough after a Dolphins-Patriots game.