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‘Next-Level Devastating’: Recent UCLA Basketball Player Found Dead in Costa Rica at Age 22

Jalen Hill, a former UCLA basketball player, died in Costa Rica this week. The cause of the 22-year-old’s death is still unknown.

The news of Hill’s death came from his father on Tuesday, who posted on Instagram announcing his son’s death and stating the family would not be sharing any more information at the time, KCBS-TV reported.

“Our hearts are shattered and completely broken … We realize that many will have questions but we are unable to share any details at this time,” Hill’s father’s post read, according to KCBS.

“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. As we try to navigate this devastating time in our lives, we ask that you please give us time to grieve,” his family shared in an Instagram post, ESPN reported.

His family said that Hill had gone missing in Costa Rica before he was discovered dead, but no further details are known at this time.

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With Hill’s passing, many coaches and those who knew him throughout his basketball career have commemorated him.

UCLA’s coach Mick Cronin posted on Twitter, remembering Hill and mourning his loss.

“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,” Cronin tweeted.

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UCLA Men’s Basketball also tweeted to announce Hill’s death and commemorate him.

“Our program is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student-athlete Jalen Hill. We offer our most sincere condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time,” the tweet read.

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Beginning in 2017, Hill played forward-center for UCLA, CBS News reported.

Hill was suspended for the whole 2017-18 season though, after being arrested for shoplifting in Shanghai, China, along with two of his teammates LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley. The team was in China for the season opener against Georgia Tech, KABC-TV reported.

But after the suspension, Hill played through the 2020-21 season and then decided to retire for personal reasons, CBS News reported.

After the 2020-21 season, he announced in an Instagram video that he wanted to step away from playing due to the depression and anxiety he was experiencing, ESPN reported.

During his time playing at UCLA, Hill played in 77 games and averaged 6.5 points and 6.4 rebounds, KCBS reported.

Hill was also a California native, raised in Corona, just outside of Los Angeles, KABC reported.

He played basketball in high school at Corona Centennial High and is warmly remembered there, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Just a really good kid, had a great smile. He was a great basketball player, but I just loved him as a person,” Josh Giles, Hill’s former coach at Corona Centennial High, told the Times.

The news of Hill’s death hit Giles hard.

“I’m so stunned, I don’t even have an emotion right now. To hear something like this is next-level devastating,” Giles said.

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