Former UCLA men’s basketball forward Jalen Hill died at the age of 22 on Tuesday night, according to a series of social media posts from the program.
“The news of Jalen Hill’s passing is heartbreaking,” Bruins head coach Mick Cronin said in a statement posted to his verified Twitter account early Wednesday morning. “At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Jalen was a kind-hearted young man with a beautiful smile who was taken from us far too soon.”
Hill’s family announced his death on Instagram Tuesday night, saying he “went missing while in Costa Rica,” but did not elaborate.
Cause Of Jalen Hill Death?
According to his family and the university, Jalen Hill, who played basketball at UCLA for three seasons before leaving last year for personal reasons, has died. He was 22.
On Tuesday, his family announced on Instagram that Hill had died after going missing in Costa Rica. There were no additional details provided.
Former UCLA basketball player Jalen Hill, who was detained in China in 2017 with two teammates on suspicion of shoplifting, has died, according to the university’s basketball team. He was 22 years old at the time.
The cause of his death could not be determined right away. His family did not respond to requests for comment right away.
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. pic.twitter.com/YK69T7r91B
— Mick Cronin (@CoachMickCronin) September 21, 2022
Mr. Hill, who alternated between forward and center, lasted three seasons before retiring last year. He stated in an Instagram video posted in April 2021 that he suffered from anxiety and depression after being detained in China.
In 2017, Mr. Hill and two of his teammates, including LiAngelo Ball, the brother of NBA stars LaMelo Ball and Lonzo Ball, were embroiled in a high-profile diplomatic saga. They were detained for a week in Hangzhou, China, while authorities investigated them on suspicion of stealing from a Louis Vuitton store.
Chinese authorities did not provide any information about the alleged shoplifting. If convicted, the players, who were all freshmen at the time, could have faced ten years in a Chinese prison.
UCLA’s men’s basketball team had traveled to China to kick off the season. Mr. Hill, along with two of his teammates, remained in custody while the rest of the team left. The three players flew home after then-President Donald Trump spoke with Chinese leader Xi Jinping to secure their release.
The three players, including Cody Riley, later apologized for their behavior on the trip and thanked both US and Chinese authorities for their assistance in obtaining their release.
Mr. Hill explained his decision to leave the UCLA team by stating that his anxiety and depression began after his ordeal in China.
“The mental state I was in was hurting the team,” he explained, adding that he had never felt happier in his life until he left the team.