Jalen Hill’s Family Announces That The Ex-UCLA Star Was Found Dead After Going Missing In Costa Rica

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Arizona State
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Twenty-two-year-old Jalen Hill, a former standout for the UCLA men’s basketball team, has reportedly passed away after going missing in Costa Rica. The news comes from Hill’s family, who posted it on Tuesday night via Instagram. The family said that Hill had been missing for a couple of days. The cause of death has not been released.

“We know Jalen has played a part in the lives of so many people,” Hill’s family wrote. “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.”

Hill played power forward with the Bruins for three seasons, and averaged 9 points and 7 rebounds in his breakout sophomore year. UCLA coach Mick Cronin issued a statement about Hill’s death, expressing his condolences to Hill’s family and speaking highly of the former player.

“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,” Coach Cronin said. Hill’s high school coach, Josh Giles of Corona Centennial High, was at a loss for words when speaking to the Los Angeles Times. Giles said that the news of his former student’s death is “next-level devastating.”

Halfway through his junior year in 2021, Hill reportedly left UCLA due to suffering from depression and anxiety. The 22-year-old spoke about his experience after leaving the program, stating that it was a breath of fresh air for him. That he was “just happy to be alive.”

“When I (took a step back), it was a whole new life,” Hill said. “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 four-start recruit for the Bruins coming out of Corona, California. His collegiate career with UCLA started off rocky when was reportedly arrested in China for shoplifting in 2017 along with fellow freshmen LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley. At that time, UCLA was playing a game against Georgia Tech. The arrest led to a season-long suspension for Hill, Ball and Riley and it generated constant headlines due to LiAngelo being a part of a prestigious basketball family. LiAngelo is the son of LaVar Ball, who is the co-founder and chief executive officer of the sports apparel company Big Baller Brand and founder of the now defunct Junior Basketball Association.

Despite the setback, Hill stayed with the Bruins and eventually became a solid contributor to the school’s successful program.

The New York Post has more HERE.