FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots say they are “deeply saddened” by the death of linebacker Junior Seau, who spent parts of the last four of his 20 NFL seasons with them.

The 43-year-old Seau was found shot to death at his Oceanside, Calif., home Wednesday in what police said appeared to be suicide.

The Patriots said Seau’s “unrivaled passion for the game quickly made him a fan favorite here in New England.”

Seau spent most of his career with San Diego and also played for Miami. He came out of retirement to play 2006-2009 for New England.

He was with the Patriots when they ended their quest for a perfect 2007 season with a Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants. He had 76 tackles (55 solo) and 3.5 sacks, and a career-high three interceptions that season.