TMZ reports that Jason Hairston has passed away at the age of 47. Hairston was a businessman and former NFL player. He was the founder and CEO of a hunting gear company called KUIU.
He grew up in southern California. In high school, he attended Foothill High School where he was an All-Orange County defender. Later he studied at the University of California, Davis and in 1993 he was at starting linebacker for UC Davis Aggies football.
He broke his neck during his junior season during a Division II playoff game. His C5 and C6 vertebrae were fractured. He was signed as an unrestricted free agent to the San Francisco 49ers in 1995. After only spending a year with the 49ers, he left and played for the Denver Broncos. He retired from sports in 1996. Although he enjoyed a lot of success in sports, he is also known for being a successful businessman.
After retiring, he became a commercial real estate agent. He was the founder of Sitka, a hunting gear company. He sold the business in 2009 and founded a similar company named KUIU the following year. Many big-name athletes like Hunter Strickland and Brent Burns are all said to be fans of KUIU.
According to an article by Forbes, his first business, Sitka Gear, wasn't very successful and he lost control of it. But his business KUIU made $50 million in sales in 2016. It's a direct-to-consumer outdoor apparel business for hunters.
Jason Hairston is friends with President Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr. and last year Hairston accepted a position as liaison to the United States Department of the Interior and hunting groups on conservation and public lands issues. Hairston even visited the Trump family at the White House last year.
His company, KUIU, has confirmed his passing and stated they were "shocked and saddened" by his death. The details surrounding his death are unclear at this time.
In the interview he did with Forbes last March, he was asked what the best advice was that he could offer other entrepreneurs. He said, "Your biggest dreams are possible. Find what you truly love. Become an absolute expert in this, and you can build a career or business. You will never reach your full potential both in life and in business unless you do what you love. Most people use fear to come up with the reasons they should not chase their dreams. Instead, use fear to motivate you to work harder and prepare more. Then, these dreams will happen."