A former basketball player for UCLA, Jalen Hill, has passed away at the age of 22.
Hill’s family announced on Tuesday in an Instagram post that he died after going missing in Costa Rica. No further detail was provided.
“We know Jalen has played a part in the lives of so many people,” wrote Hill’s family. “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.”
UCLA basketball posted to Twitter on Wednesday acknowledging Hill’s death.
“Our program is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student-athlete Jalen Hill.” the program wrote. “We offer our most sincere condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Head coach Mick Cronin said in his own post, “The news of Jalen Hill’s passing is heartbreaking. 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.”
Hill played three seasons for the Bruins before stepping away after the 2020-21 season. He detailed in an Instagram post in April 2021 why he left the program. He also said he was done with basketball as a whole and he was “cool with that.”
“The reason why I left had nothing to do with the team, or Cronin, or coaching, none of that. Just so everybody can understand, it was me,” Hill said. “I had a bunch of anxiety and depression problems, and you know it started when I was arrested in China at 17. It was a lot for me, I didn’t really wanna open up or anything.” Hill was part of a shoplifting incident in China when he was a freshman in 2017, along with teammates Cody Riley and LiAngelo Ball. All three players were suspended for the season. Ball eventually left the team, while Hill stayed on the team with Riley.
Hill started 40 of the 77 games he played for the Bruins and averaged 6.5 points and 6.4 rebounds a game during his three-year tenure.
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