The college sports world has suffered a huge loss.
“Our program is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student-athlete Jalen Hill. We offer our most sincere condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time,” the statement read.
Jalen’s father, George, took to Instagram to reveal that Jalen passed after the family learned that he went missing while in Costa Rica, but they cannot disclose any more details at this time.
“We know Jalen has played a part in the lives of so many people,” his family wrote in the Instagram post. “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.”
Jalen was a four-star recruit and was part of the UCLA trio alongside LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley, who got suspended for the 2017-18 season for shoplifting a pair of Louis Vuitton sunglasses in China. They were jailed in Hangzhou and faced up to 10 years in jail but were released when President Trump intervened.
Afterward, Hill played three seasons for the Bruins but decided to step away from the team during his junior year for personal reasons, citing depression and anxiety that worsened during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I just had to distance myself because the headspace I was in, it was damaging the team. So I didn’t want to restrict them from achieving their goals, too,” Hill said back in 2021 before realizing how much better he felt after leaving the sport. “Like, I never felt this happy before in my life. Like, I just wake up and I’m just happy to be alive and it sounds crazy to say.”