Former UCLA basketball player Jalen Hill dead at 22

Former UCLA basketball forward Jalen Hill has died at the age of 22, the school said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Hill’s family also confirmed the player’s death in an Instagram post on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reported, adding that he went missing recently in Costa Rica. The family did not offer any other details.

UCLA coach Mick Cronin said in a statement that Hill’s death is “heartbreaking” and said the former Bruins forward “was a warm-hearted young man with a great smile who has left us far too soon.”

“We know Jalen has played a part in the lives of so many people,” his family wrote on Instagram, according to the Times. “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.”

The 6-foot-10 Hill played parts of three seasons at UCLA before retiring after the 2020-21 season, ESPN reported. He played his last game for the Bruins on Jan. 30, 2021, going scoreless against Oregon State, according to the Times.

In an Instagram video in February 2021, Hill cited anxiety and depression as his reasons for leaving the team. He delayed his formal announcement until three months later, saying he did not want to distract from the team’s run in the NCAA Tournament to the Final Four.

“I’m just like, ‘Nah, I need to take this break,’” Hill told the Times in April 2021. “It was a tough decision to make, but once I knew what I had to do, it wasn’t hard, like I figured out, like, this is going to help me.”

Hill, a native of Corona, California, played three seasons with the Bruins, averaging 6.5 points and 6.4 rebounds in 77 games, according to As a freshman in November 2017, Hill was arrested in China with teammates LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley on shoplifting charges, The Athletic reported. The two players were suspended for the 2017-18 season but were reinstated the following year, according to the sports magazine.

Josh Giles, Hill’s coach at Centennial High School in Corona, told the Times that Hill was “a great basketball player, but I just loved him as a person.”

“I’m so stunned I don’t even have an emotion right now,” Giles told the newspaper, adding that he has been in contact with Hill’s family. “To hear something like this is next-level devastating.”

Note: If you or someone you know is thinking of harming themselves, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free support via the Lifeline by dialing 988. For more about risk factors and warning signs, visit the organization’s official website.