Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski—a redshirt sophomore who made his first start for the Cougars in their Holiday Bowl loss to Michigan State at the end of December—was found dead following an apparent suicide on Tuesday. He was 21.
According to police, Hilinski suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside of his apartment in Pullman, Washington on Tuesday afternoon. A rifle and a suicide note were found next to him when Pullman police conducted a welfare check at Hilinski’s residence after he failed to show up for a Washington State practice earlier in the day.
Washington State head coach Mike Leach released a statement about Hilinski’s death shortly after the news about it was made public by police.
"We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler’s passing," Leach said. "He was an incredible young man and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it. The entire WSU community mourns as thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
Hilinski had just completed his sophomore season with Washington State, and he was expected to assume the role of starting quarterback for the team next season. The Southern California native made eight appearances for the Cougars this year in a reserve role.
Many of Hilinski’s teammates, both past and present, shared their condolences for him and his family on social media late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.
Hilinski’s death has also inspired many within the college football community to share the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on social media.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.