Former UCLA Star Jalen Hill Dead at 22 After Going Missing in Costa Rica

Jalen Hill
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Ex-UCLA basketball star Jalen Hill is dead after having been reported missing in Costa Rica, according to his family.

The 22-year-old’s family took to social media on Tuesday to tell fans of the young man’s passing.

“We know Jalen has played a part in the lives of so many people,” the family said in an Instagram post. “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.”

The family did not offer further details about the death but asked for “time to grieve.”

“We realize that many will have questions, but we are unable to share any details at this time. As we try to navigate this devastating time in our lives, we ask that you please give us time to grieve,” the post said.

UCLA posted a statement saying the school was “deeply saddened” by the news.

In his own statement, UCLA coach Mick Cronin wrote, “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.”

Hill was a four-star recruit for UCLA and was a standout player early in 2021, but he sat out the latter half of the season. Then, in the off-season, he made the surprise announcement that he would not return to the sport for 2022. He cited mental health issues for his decision to stop playing basketball, according to the New York Post.

“When I (took a step back), it was a whole new life,” Hill said as he announced that he would not return to the court. “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 was a member of the trio of players arrested in China for shoplifting in 2017 when he was a freshman at UCLA in 2017. Hill and the other two players — LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley — were suspended for the entire season for the stunt.

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