Former UCLA Basketball Player Jalen Hill Dies At 22

Jalen Hill, a former basketball player for UCLA, passed away at the age of 22, according to his family and the school.

Hill’s family found out about his passing after he recently went missing while travelling in Costa Rica, according to The Associated Press.

“We know Jalen has played a part in the lives of so many people,” Hill’s family wrote on Instagram. “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. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.”

Hill’s high school coach at Corona Centennial, Josh Giles, lauded Hill for being a good person in a statement.

“Just a really good kid, had a great smile,” Giles said. “He was a great basketball player, but I just loved him as a person.”

“Our program is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student-athlete Jalen Hill,” UCLA Men’s Basketball tweeted. “We offer our most sincere condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

“The news of Jalen Hill’s passing is heartbreaking,” UCLA Men’s Basketball coach Mick Cronin tweeted. “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.”

The 6-foot-10 athlete spent three seasons at UCLA before quitting the team last year for reportedly mental health-related concerns.

“I just had to distance myself because the headspace I was in, it was damaging the team,” Hill said in an Instagram video. “So I didn’t want to restrict them from achieving their goals, too.”

Hill was one of three athletes detained in China in 2017 for shoplifting, LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley made up the other two players.

“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump?” former President Donald Trump tweeted after he got the three men released from jail. “They were headed for 10 years in jail!”

All three players expressed their gratitude to Trump for using his position as president to contact Chinese President Xi Jinping and persuade him to release the players during a news conference later in the day.

“To President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf,” Riley said. “We really appreciate you helping us out.”

“I’d also like to thank President Trump and the United States government for the help that they provided as well,” Ball said.

“Thank you to the United States government and President Trump for your efforts to bring us home,” Hill said.

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