Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinski has passed away, local authorities confirmed on Tuesday, revealing that the 21-year-old football player was found dead in an apartment in Pullman in an apparent suicide.
Based on a report from ESPN, law enforcers from the Pullman Police Department in Washington found a lifeless Hilinski after responding to a call for a welfare check at 4:30 p.m. on January 16. Police revealed that the WSU quarterback “did not show up for practice earlier in the day.”
Authorities said that a rifle was found near Hilinski’s body along with a suicide note.
“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler’s passing,” WSU football coach Mike Leach said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“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.”
According to an Associated Press report via Bloomberg, Tyler had just started as the presumptive starting quarterback and played during the Holiday Bowl following Luke Falk’s wrist injury.
Based on a statement from interim athletic director John Johnson, the Washington State Cougar football team was gathered late on Tuesday to be debriefed following Tyler Hilinski’s death.
“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,” Johnson said.
He also revealed that the school is providing ample support for those who are grieving the 21-year-old quarterback’s demise, including sessions with athletics’ on-staff clinical psychologist and a licensed mental health counselor, and the WSU medical team. He also promised to continue counseling for as long as student athletes need it.
Washington State students and staff, as well as observers who have seen how talented he was, has since expressed their regret at Tyler’s death, with some sharing their insights about depression, suicide, and how it can be prevented.
“I feel so sick right now and wish I would have stayed closer to you after high school. RIP Tyler Hilinski. Love you bro,” University of California, Los Angeles line backer Josh Woods wrote on Twitter.
However, the Daily Mail revealed that he was expected to be the starting quarterback for the Washington State University football team next season after Luke Falk broke his wrist. His career in the sport had been promising, especially after he led the team to victory against Michigan State in the bowl game 42-17, thanks to his 272-yard throw and two touchdowns within one interception.