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NFL Legend Cortez Kennedy Donates Brain to CTE Research ... Autopsy Reveals

1/22/2018 2:10 PM PST

NFL Legend Cortez Kennedy Donated Brain to CTE Research, Autopsy Reveals

EXCLUSIVE

NFL Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy donated his brain to the most famous CTE research center in the world when he passed away in May ... this according to the autopsy obtained by TMZ Sports

Kennedy's body was discovered by a friend on May 23, 2017. At the time, it was unclear how the 48-year-old passed away

But according to the autopsy report, the official cause of death is hypertensive heart disease -- a heart condition caused by high blood pressure, according to Healthline.com. 

The medical examiner also lists pneumonia and diabetes as a contributing factor to Kennedy's death. He's listed in the autopsy as 6'1" and 265 lbs. 

As we previously reported, Kennedy was hospitalized for swollen legs just days before he died. 

The report shows Kennedy's family requested the ex-NFL star's brain be sent to the Boston University CTE Center for further examination. 

BU is widely regarded as the leader in CTE research -- they've studied the brains of several deceased NFL stars including Aaron Hernandez and Dave Duerson

Kennedy played 11 seasons for the Seattle Seahawks ... and was an 8x Pro Bowler. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

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