September 24, 2022

Jalen Hill, who played basketball at UCLA for three seasons before leaving last year for personal reasons, has died, according to his family and the university. He was 22 years old.

His family announced on Instagram on Tuesday that Hill had died after going missing in Costa Rica. No further details were given.

“We know Jalen played a role in so many people’s lives,” Hill’s family wrote in the post. “We also acknowledge the role that so many of you played in his life. As we try to get through this devastating time in our lives, please allow us time to grieve. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.”

UCLA Jalen Hill Death Basketball
FILE — UCLA forward Jalen Hill grabs a rebound during the game against San Diego on Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles.

Ashley Landis / AP

UCLA and coach Mick Cronin released statements on social media Wednesday acknowledging Hill’s death.

“Our program is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student-athlete Jalen Hill. We extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time,” the school said in a statement.

Cronin called Hill’s death “heartbreaking.”

“Jalen was a warm-hearted young man with a great smile who left us too soon,” the coach wrote on Twitter.

Hill, a forward from Corona, California, averaged 6.5 points and 6.4 rebounds while starting 40 of 77 career games for the Bruins over three seasons.

In April 2021, Hill posted a video on Instagram explaining his reasons for leaving the program that February. He said he will retire from basketball because he is dealing with anxiety and depression.

“The reason I left had nothing to do with the team or Cronin or the coaches, nothing like that. Just so everyone understands, it was me,” he said in the video.

As freshmen, Hill, along with LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley, were arrested in China in November 2017 for shoplifting during the program’s goodwill visit to play a Pac-12 game. UCLA suspended all three players for the entire 2017-18 season.

Ball left the school, but Hill and Riley returned to finish their college careers.

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