On Tuesday, January 16, 21-year-old Tyler Hilinski, a quarterback for the Washington State University Cougars, was a no-show at practice.
Police were sent to Hilinski’s campus apartment to perform a welfare check on the athlete. According to the Bleacher Report, when the police arrived they found Hilinski deceased.
Heartbreaking news on WSU quarterback Tyler Hilinski.
Sending my deepest condolences and love to his family, friends and the @wsucougfb family.
You are never alone. You do matter. You are loved.
— Drea Blackwell (@KSBWDrea) January 17, 2018
The Washington State police released a statement explaining that Hilinski had died by an apparent suicide:
On Tuesday, January 16, 2018, at about 4:30 pm, Pullman officers responded to apartments located at 1620 NE Northwood Dr., Aspen Village Apartments, to check on the welfare of a Washington State University football player who did not show up for practice earlier in the day. Officers arrive and found Tyler Hilinski, 21 years old, deceased in the apartment with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Police said in the statement that a rifle was found lying next to Hilinski, as well as a suicide note.
An investigation is currently underway to confirm the suspected manner of his death.
Hilinski was a redshirt sophomore for the Cougars. He was named the starting quarterback going into the Holiday Bowl against the Michigan State Spartans on December 28.
— Tyler Hilinski (@Tyler_Hlinski9) October 1, 2016
As the Bleacher Report reports, the 21-year-old was expected to be named starting quarterback for the 2018-19 football season following senior QB Luke Falk’s departure.
According to the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health (USNLM-NIH), over the 9-year study period, 35 cases of suicide were identified from a review of 477 student-athlete deaths during 3,773,309 individual participant seasons, which is lower than that of the general and collegiate population of similar age.
On average, there are 123 suicides committed per day.
Those who were close to Hilinski took to Twitter to express their condolences, including his younger brother, Ryan:
Please keep my family in your prayers tonight.
— Big Bo (@ryan_hilinski) January 17, 2018
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 Haffner (@e_haff) January 17, 2018
I’m so fucking angry, I can’t stop crying. Every human life is precious. All I wish is that I could’ve been in that apt in Pullman, looked that amazing young man in the eyes & said you’re loved Tyler! I’m just like you & I’ve been here & there is hope, hugged him & never let go.
— Ryan D Leaf (@RyanDLeaf) January 17, 2018
I am broken tonight, trying to find the words. I love you and will miss you my son. You brightened the lives of everyone around you! You brought more joy to this earth than you will ever know! May you Rest In Peace! #Ty3 pic.twitter.com/cHquUF5DZr
— CoachKen Wilson WSU! (@CoachKWils) January 17, 2018
— Zilla♛ (@kiingzay_) January 17, 2018
“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” – Coach Leach regarding Tyler Hilinski
— WSU Cougar Football (@wsucougfb) January 17, 2018
My Coug brothers, Past & Present. I love you all. I want you to know that. This one hurts.
Clink…Im sorry. Im sorry we couldnt help more. But Im happy youre pain free. Youre in not only a better place, but the perfect one. Side by side with God. We love you. ??❤
— Lyman Faoliu (Ly) (@Ly_Faoliu) January 17, 2018
Love you #3
Go with God brother
Prayers for the Hilinski family
WSU 24-Hour Line: 509-334-1133
WSU Counseling & Psych Services
— Eric Mele (@CoachMeleWSU) January 17, 2018
Ty you were a great teammate, friend, brother anything we needed you to be. You brought smiles to the people around you. I am sorry I could not be there for you when you needed a smile for yourself. Love you man. Rest In Peace?? pic.twitter.com/LmNC1ZLNZi
— Skyler Thomas (@Sky_Dolla_Sign) January 17, 2018
Tyler was such a great young man and teammate. It’s shocking and heartbreaking to know he was dealing with so much in his head when he always had a smile and a joke ready for anyone walking into the room. Rest easy, brother. #RIP3
— Carlos Freeman (@CarlosFreeman78) January 17, 2018
Teammate Skyler Thomas wrote in another tweet following Hilinski’s death:
“[I]f you are ever going through something and you feel like suicide is the only way to deal with it you can always contact me no matter who you are. You can also contact The National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255.”