Tillman sacrificed the good life and a multi-million dollar football career in the belief that he was defending his country from outside enemies, and soon after 9/11 turned down a contract offer of $3.6 million over three years from the Cardinals to enlist in the U.S. Army.
It was during Tillman's second deployment to Afghanistan, after previously serving in Iraq, that he was killed by what the U.S. military initially claimed was a Taliban ambush. It later emerged that the ambush story had been concocted by the Pentagon in an attempt to exploit Tillman's death for pro-war propaganda. Subsequent investigations claimed that Tillman was killed as a result of a friendly fire accident.
However, in July 2007, the results of an Army medical report found that Tillman had been shot three times in the head with an M16 from a mere 10 yards away, clearly suggesting that the incident was a targeted assassination.
"Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman's forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player's death amounted to a crime," reported the Associated Press.
"The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators. "The doctors - whose names were blacked out - said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away."