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Thousands attend San Diego celebration of life of Junior Seau

May 11, 2012 |  7:24 pm

Thousands go to Qualcomm Stadium to memorialize Junior Seau
In the stadium where he was a star linebacker for the San Diego Chargers for 13 seasons, thousands of fans and other well-wishers went to Qualcomm Stadium on Friday night to celebrate the life of Junior Seau.

"In this town, the word Seau is royalty," said Pastor Miles McPherson, former Charger safety and now senior pastor at the Rock Church in San Diego.

A lineup of former football players and other notables lauded Seau for his football successes and his charitable works. With members of the Seau family in attendance, the event, hosted by the Chargers, included video clips of Seau as a Charger.

"Of all San Diego's greatest athletes," said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, "Junior was the most charismatic."

Former quarterback Dan Fouts remembered Seau as "the ultimate leader, the ultimate teammate."

Although the evening was mostly joyous, with playful references to the arch-rival Oakland Raiders and the pranks that NFL players play on each other, Fouts interjected a serious note.

"There's no hiding that Junior's passing is a tragedy," Fouts told the crowd, which was suddenly hushed. "The lesson is: 'If you need help, get help, it's out there'.... If you. need help or recognize the signs that...a friend needs help, do something about it."

Seau, 43, was found dead May 2 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. No note was found, and friends and family members say they are baffled by his decision to commit suicide.

Seau was buried Friday at Eternal Hills Memorial Park in Oceanside.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Fans at a celebration of the life of Junior Seau at Qualcomm Stadium. Credit: Dennis Poroy / Getty Images