Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski died Tuesday night of an “apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” according to the Pullman Police Department.
Hilinski, who was a 21-year old redshirt sophomore, did not show up to team practice earlier in the day.
When Pullman police officers went to Hilinski’s apartment to check on him, they discovered his dead body, a rifle, and a suicide note.
Hilinski’s teammates were informed of his death as a group and the university is providing ongoing counseling care for all student-athletes.
Washington State football coach Mike Leach described Hilinski as “an incredible young man” and that “everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it.”
Hilinski made his first start for Washington State last month at the Holiday Bowl against Michigan State and was in line to be the starting quarterback in the 2018 season.
“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,” John Johnson, Washington State’s interim athletic director, said.
Tyler’s younger brother Ryan wrote a brief tweet on his brother’s passing shortly before the press release was made public.
“Please keep my family in your prayers tonight,” he wrote.
UCLA linebacker Josh Woods, who was a high school teammate of Tyler Hilinski at Upland High School in California, also paid his respects.
“I feel so sick right now and wish I would have stayed closer to you after high school. RIP Tyler Hilinski. Love you bro,” Woods wrote.
Jason Gesser, the assistant athletic director at Washington State, asked all Cougars fans to “come together” for the Hilinski family.
“They will need more than thoughts and prayers. They and everyone connected to this will need love and support for the rest of their lives. #RIP3 Love you always brother,” Gesser tweeted.