Former UCLA forward Jalen Hill died after going missing in Costa Rica, his family said late Tuesday night. He was 22.
“We know Jalen has played a part in the lives of so many people,” the statement in an Instagram post read. “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.”
A four-star recruit suspended for the 2017-18 season along with LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley for shoplifting in China, Hill played three seasons for the Bruins and left during his junior season in 2021, citing depression and anxiety. He said he found happiness almost immediately after taking a step back from basketball.
“It was a whole new life,” Hill said in 2021. “I’ve never felt this happy before in my life. I just wake up and I’m just happy to be alive. And it sounds crazy to say it, but it’s just true.”
Hill’s family said he was missing for a few days.
“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,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said in a statement.