Washington State Cougars quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead Tuesday at age 21, police in Pullman, Washington, confirmed.
The apparent cause of death was suicide.
Police were called to check on Hilinski after he had failed to show up for practice.
He was found with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the official police statement per the Seattle Times’ Stefanie Loh.
“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler’s passing. He was an incredible young man and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it. The entire WSU community mourns as thoughts and prayers go out to his family,” WSU head football coach Mike Leach said in a statement.
“The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinski is devastating to all. Tyler was a tremendous individual, great friend and teammate, and he will be deeply missed. Our hearts go out to his family and friends,” John Johnson, the university’s interim director of athletics, said in his own statement.
Johnson went on to describe the services that the school would be providing to the football team.
— Washington State Athletics (@WSUCougars) January 17, 2018
“Earlier tonight, the football team was brought together and informed of the tragedy,” Johnson said. “There, they were met by campus and department counseling and psychological services, including athletics’ on-staff clinical psychologist and a licensed mental health counselor, along with WSU Athletics medical team. The university will continue to coordinate and provide ongoing counseling care for all student-athletes as long as needed.”
Tyler’s younger brother, Ryan, asked for prayers during the trying time.
Please keep my family in your prayers tonight.
— Ryan Hilinski (@ryan_hilinski) January 17, 2018
A memorial already seems to have been put together in Hilinski’s honor.
He was as kind as he was talented. As good a leader as he was a friend. The world was a better place with him in it.
— Elisabeth (@e_haff) January 17, 2018
“Deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Tyler Hilinski. Wishing peace and comfort to his family, friends, teammates, and the entire [Washington State] community during this time. Washingtonians hold you in our thoughts and prayers tonight,” Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib tweeted.
Former Washington State and San Diego Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf chimed in on social media as well.
“I’m so f—ing angry, I can’t stop crying. Every human life is precious,” Leaf said. The retired quarterback has publicly dealt with numerous personal demons, including legal and drug problems, during and after his stint in the NFL.
“All I wish is that I could’ve been in that [apartment] in Pullman, looked that amazing young man in the eyes [and] said you’re loved Tyler! I’m just like you [and] I’ve been here [and] there is hope, hugged him [and] never let him go,” Leaf wrote on Twitter.
Hilinksi played in 11 games over a span of two years for the Cougars football program.
As a sophomore in 2017, he notched 1,176 passing yards to go along with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.
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