Jalen Hill, a former basketball player for UCLA, died at the age of 22, according to the university. No cause of death has been shared.
In an Instagram post, Hill’s family revealed that they learned of his death after he went missing in Costa Rica.
Jalen’s father, George Hill, posted on Instagram, “Our hearts are shattered and completely broken to inform family and friends that our beloved son, Jalen has passed away. Jalen went missing while in Costa Rica and we have recently learned of his passing. We realize that many will have questions but we are unable to share any details at this time.”
He continued, “We know Jalen has played a part in the lives of so many people. We also acknowledge the role that so many of you have played in his.”
Jalen’s coach at UCLA, Mick Cronin, wrote on Twitter, “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.
Coming out of high school, Jalen was a four-star recruit in the class of 2017. He opted to stay close to his hometown of Corona, Calif. and decided to play basketball at UCLA.
Before his freshman year, Hill was among the three players arrested in China along with LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley on shoplifting charges in November 2017. Although he was suspended for the 2017-2018 season, he returned during the 2018-19 season.
He played for three years until February 2021, when he left the team for unknown reasons. In April 2021, after the UCLA Men’s Basketball team’s Final Four run, he revealed in an Instagram video why he left the team, revealing that he was going through anxiety and depression.
He said, “I had to distance myself because the headspace I was in, it was damaging the team. So I didn’t want to restrict them from achieving their goals, too.”
During his three years at UCLA, Jalen played in 77 games and averaged 6.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.