Jalen Hill, who played three seasons of basketball at UCLA until he left last year for personal reasons, has died, according to his family and the university. He was 22.
His family posted on Instagram on Tuesday that Hill had died after going missing in Costa Rica. No further details were provided.
“We know that Jalen has played a part in the lives of so many people,” Hill’s family wrote in the post. “We also recognize the role that so many of you have played in his life. As we try to navigate this devastating time in our lives, we ask that you please give us time to grieve. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers .”
UCLA and coach Mick Cronin posted statements on social media on Wednesday acknowledging Hill’s death.
“Our program is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student athlete Jalen Hill. We offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time,” the school said.
Cronin called Hill’s death “heartbreaking.”
“Jalen was a warm-hearted young man with a big smile who left us way too soon,” the coach tweeted.
Hill, a striker from Corona, California, averaged 6.5 points and 6.4 rebounds while starting 40 of 77 career games for the Bruins over three seasons.
In April 2021, Hill posted an Instagram video explaining why he left the program in February. He said he would quit basketball because he was dealing with anxiety and depression.
“The reason I left had nothing to do with the team or Cronin or coaches, nothing like that. So that everyone can understand, it was me,” he said in the video.
As a freshman, Hill, along with LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley,for shoplifting during the program’s goodwill visit to play a Pac-12 game. UCLA has suspended all three players for the entire 2017-18 season.
Ball dropped out of school, but Hill and Riley returned to complete their college careers.