Former UCLA basketball player Jalen Hill has died at the age of 22, according to his family and the university.
The Associated Press reported that Hill’s family learned of his death after he recently went missing while in Costa Rica.
“We know Jalen has played a part in the lives of so many people,” Hill’s family wrote on Instagram. “We also acknowledge the role that so many of you have played in his. As we try to navigate this devastating time in our lives, we ask that you please give us time to grieve. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.”
Josh Giles, Hill’s high school coach at Corona Centennial, praised Hill in a statement for being a good person.
“Just a really good kid, had a great smile,” Giles said. “He was a great basketball player, but I just loved him as a person.”
“Our program is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student-athlete Jalen Hill,” UCLA Men’s Basketball tweeted. “We offer our most sincere condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
“The news of Jalen Hill’s passing is heartbreaking,” UCLA Men’s Basketball coach Mick Cronin tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. Jalen was a warm-hearted young man with a great smile who has left us far too soon.”
The 6-foot-10 athlete played three seasons at UCLA before leaving the program for personal reasons last year allegedly related to mental health issues.
“I just had to distance myself because the headspace I was in, it was damaging the team,” Hill said in an Instagram video. “So I didn’t want to restrict them from achieving their goals, too.”
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