Aaron Hernandez was found dead with the words "John 3:16" written on his forehead, according to a law enforcement source directly involved in the investigation into the former NFL star's death.
The notation is believed to refer to the words in the Bible from John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Law enforcement personnel told CNN's Deborah Feyerick that inmates often use this verse.
Hernandez hanged himself in his prison cell and was found dead early Wednesday, the Massachusetts Department of Correction said. The former tight end for the New England Patriots had been serving a life sentence without parole after being convicted in the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.
Hernandez's death came just five days after his acquittal in the 2012 slayings of two men outside a Boston nightclub in a separate case.
This article has been updated to better characterize details about the manner in which the bible verse was written. CNN continues to gather reporting to clarify the information.
-- CNN's Eric Levenson contributed to this report.