Tyler Hilinski, a quarterback for the Washington State Cougars football team, was found dead on Tuesday afternoon in what police say was suicide.
Hilinski, 21, was found in an apartment in Pullman, Whitman County, where Washington State is located, around 4.30 p.m. according to the New York Times. ESPN reported he had missed practice earlier in the day.
The Spokane-Review quoted a police statement late on Tuesday night. “Pullman Police detectives and the Whitman County Coroner’s Office are conducting a thorough investigation to confirm the suspected cause and manner of death,” the press release read.
The redshirt sophomore from Claremont, California, appeared in eight games this season and started the Holiday Bowl loss to Michigan State on December 29 in which he completed 39-of-50 passes for 272 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
“Hilinski was… a vibrant, well-liked member of the team and community who was known for his infectious positivity and sense of humor”, Theo Lawson wrote in the Spokane-Review . He was the presumptive successor to Luke Falk, the WSU starter from 2017 who has declared for the 2018 NFL Draft.
Ryan Hilinski, Tyler’s brother, posted a message to Twitter on Tuesday night. “ Please keep my family in your prayers tonight”, he wrote.
Please keep my family in your prayers tonight.— Big Bo (@ryan_hilinski) 17 January 2018
Skyler Thomas, a freshman defensive back for the Cougars, tweeted that Hilinski, “Brought smiles to the people around you”. “I am sorry I could not be there for you when you needed a smile for yourself. Love you man. Rest In Peace,” Thomas wrote.
Ty you were a great teammate, friend, brother anything we needed you to be. You brought smiles to the people around you. I am sorry I could not be there for you when you needed a smile for yourself. Love you man. Rest In Peace__ pic.twitter.com/LmNC1ZLNZi— Skyler Thomas (@Sky_Dolla_Sign) January 17, 2018
Hilinski’s most famous game as a Cougar came when he orchestrated a triple-overtime, 47-44 comeback win against Boise State on September 10 2017. Hilinski completed 25 of 33 passes that day for 240 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. “Shoot, I was just playing football out there,” he said after the game.
More from Newsweek