Former UCLA Basketball Star Jalen Hill Dead At 22 After Going Missing In Costa Rica

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The family of former UCLA basketball star Jalen Hill announced Tuesday that he died at the age of 22 after going missing in Costa Rica.

Hill played in parts of three seasons for the UCLA Bruins after joining the school’s team as a forward and center in 2017, according to KTLA. He retired after the 2020-21 season, noting his decision was based on experiences of anxiety and depression in an Instagram video he posted at the time.

His family and Josh Giles, his old coach at Centennial High in Corona, California, confirmed his death, according to the Los Angeles Times, but his family was reportedly unable to share any details surrounding the cause of his premature passing.

Tributes have poured out online, with UCLA men’s basketball head coach Mick Cronin writing, “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,” on Twitter.

The UCLA men’s basketball team offered their “most sincere condolences to [Hill’s] family and friends during this difficult time,” in a separate Twitter post. (RELATED: College Linebacker Luke Knox, Brother Of NFL Player Dawson Knox, Dead At 22)

Hill and two other teammates were suspended from play in 2017 after they were involved in a shoplifting incident while in Hangzhou, China, on a UCLA cultural exchange trip, KTLA reported. He played 77 games for UCLA with an average of 6.5 points and 6.4 rebounds, according to the outlet.