aaron hernandez
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez talks on a phone during media day for the NFL Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, Jan. 31, 2012. REUTERS/Brent Smith

The older brother of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez — who committed suicide April 19 in his jail cell at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center — broke his silence on the athlete’s death Tuesday. The brother, identified as Jonathan, said in a statement published by the Providence Journal that he wanted to “to thank everyone who has supported my mother and me during such difficult times.”

“My younger brother Aaron was far from perfect, but I will always love him. Many stories about my brother’s life have been shared with the public - except the story Aaron was brave enough to share with our mother and me. It’s the one story he wanted us to share with the world,” he wrote.

“It is Aaron’s truth.”

Read: Multiple Handwritten Suicide Notes Found In Aaron Hernandez's Prison Cell

It is not clear what “story” or “truth” Jonathan is referring to in the statement. He did not elaborate on the comment, however it may refer to something shared in private conversations between the brothers and their mother.

Jonathan is a former assistant football coach at Brown who as of 2016 ran his own roofing business in Texas — a career change that reportedly occurred after the blowout from Aaron’s charges — but was announced as the head coach at Ledyard (Conn.) High School in 2017. According to a 2016 Sports Illustrated profile about the brothers’ relationship, Jonathan used to be D.J. (Dennis Jr., as he was named for their father). He has a tattoo written across his across his chest that reads:

“There's no other love like the love for a brother
There's no other love like the love from a brother”

The two reportedly remained close throughout Aaron’s incarceration and exchanged regular phone calls and letters. “In one of his first letters from prison, Aaron pleaded with his brother to enjoy everyday occurrences—not just the conveniences of modern life, but the inconveniences too, like when it starts raining as you’re walking to your car,” Sports Illustrated reported. “Jonathan thought, ‘Wow, he is really starting to change.’”

Read: Aaron Hernandez's Prison Friend Kyle Kennedy Releases Statement Requesting Suicide Note

Jonathan told Sports Illustrated that he didn’t have a relationship with Aaron’s fiancée Shayanna Jenkins, which may account in part for why his statement came more than a month after his brother’s suicide. Shayanna and Aaron’s lawyers have been the primary point persons for matters pertaining to Aaron’s estate and personal life. Shayanna gave a widely reported interview with Dr. Phil in May during which she denied allegations that her fiancé had a gay lover before his death.

Aaron died by suicide at the maximum-security prison in Shirley, Massachusetts where he was serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, a conviction that was ultimately overturned earlier this month. The 27-year-old reportedly used a bed sheet to hang himself from his prison cell window. Five days prior to his suicide, Hernandez was acquitted of murdering Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado outside a Boston nightclub in July 2012.