The Defense Department inspector general has directed the Army Criminal Investigative Division to open a criminal probe into the Afghanistan battlefield death of former NFL star Pat Tillman, Army officials confirmed.
Officials initially portrayed Tillman's 2004 death in an Army Ranger unit as caused by enemy fire, but subsequent investigations determined the former pro football player died from friendly fire.
The 27-year-old's death has been investigated four times -- twice by the Army in Afghanistan, once by the U.S. Special Ops command, and a fourth time as part of a safety investigation.
Tillman was the former Arizona Cardinals star who quit pro football after 9/11 to join the Army Rangers with his brother, Kevin, who served in his unit.
The Criminal Investigative Division, or CID, was tentatively notified about the Defense Department inspector general's recommendation on Friday, though the formal paperwork is expected on Monday. The Tillman family was told Friday and began notifiying national media outlets.
The Tillman family has been very actively pressing the military to continue with its investigations into the circumstances surrounding his death. Their last resort was the Pentagon IG to review all the previous investigations.
ABC News' Luis Martinez contributed to this report.