WSU quarterback Tyler Hilinski found dead in apparent suicide
PULLMAN, Wash. (KOMO) - Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinksi was found dead in a Pullman apartment Tuesday afternoon from an apparent suicide, according to police.
Officers were called to the Aspen Village Apartments located at 1620 NE Northwood Drive around 4:30 p.m. to do a welfare check after Hilinski failed to show up for practice earlier in the day.
When officers arrived, they found the 21-year-old dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Police said a rifle was recovered next to him along with a suicide note.
Pullman Police and the Whitman County Coroner's Office are still investigating.
Hilinski was a redshirt sophomore and was most recently the starting quarterback in the Cougars' loss to Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl after senior Luke Falk was unable to play due to a wrist injury.
Hilinski appeared in eight games, throwing for 1,176 yards and seven touchdowns, and was the presumptive starting quarterback going into next season. His most memorable outing came in the second week of this season when he led Washington State from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Boise State 47-44 in triple overtime. Hilinski threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns coming off the bench, and was carried off the field after the victory.
Hilinski was from Claremont, California, and went to high school at nearby Upland. He arrived on campus in 2015 and redshirted before appearing in four games in 2016.
Tyler's brother, Ryan Hilinski, posted to Twitter: "Please keep my family in your prayers tonight."
Condolences for the Hilinski family came pouring in from the WSU Cougar Nation and all over the sports community.
WSU President Kirk Shultz tweeted: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hilinski family."
WSU Football released a statement from Head Coach Mike Leach via Twitter that read, “We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler’s passing. He was an incredible young man and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it. The entire WSU community mourns as thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
Another statement from WSU Interim Director of Athletics John Johnson said the team was brought together and informed of Hilinski's death. Grief counselors were also on hand.
"The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinski is devastating to all. Tyler was a tremendous individual, great friend and teammate, and he will be deeply missed. Our hearts go out to his family and friends," the statement said.
The message went on to give the WSU Crisis Line number, 509-335-2159, and the staff and faculty Employee Assistance Program line at 1-877-313-4455.
Teammate defensive back Skyler Thomas, tweeted: "You brought smiles to the people around you. I am sorry I could not be there for you when you needed a smile yourself."
Michigan State's quarterback, Brian Lewerke, who had just met Hilinski at the Holiday Bowl last month, also reached out via Twitter: "Unbelievable... had the chance to meet Tyler at the Holiday Bowl. Prayers up for his family and all of Washington State."
Read more tributes tributes to WSU quarterback Tyler Hilinski: