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Former UCLA basketball player Jalen Hill dead at 22

CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (Sept. 20 PM Edition)
CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (Sept. 20 PM Edition) 02:53

Former UCLA basketball player Jalen Hill has died at 22 years old. 

The news was confirmed by Hill's father via his private Instagram account on Tuesday, with a statement that read in part: 

"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."

While his cause of death remains unknown, Hill's family said he was in Costa Rica when he disappeared. 

Hill joined the UCLA program in 2017 before opting to retire from basketball in the middle of the 2021-22 season due to depression and anxiety. 

"I just had to distance myself, because the headspace that I was in, it was damaging the team. I didn't want to restrict them from achieving they goals too," Hill said in a video posted to his Instagram in 2021. "The reason why I left had nothing to do with the team, or Cronin or coaches — none of that. Just so everyone can understand it was me, I had a bunch of anxiety and depression problems."

Hill was one of three Bruins players, along with LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley, that were arrested for shoplifting in 2017 when the team was in Shanghai, China for a season-opening matchup against Georgia Tech. He was suspended for the entire 2017-18 season as a result

Despite this, he remained with the program where he would become one of their key players over the next two seasons.

He attributed his anxiety and depression problems to the arrest, stating that he wasn't ready to open up about the incident that happened when he was just 17-years-old. 

During parts of three seasons, the 6-foot-10 forward played in 77 games, averaging 6.5 points and 6.4 rebounds.

Raised in Corona, Hill was a four star recruit at Corona Centennial High School, where he was ranked the No. 47 high school basketball player in the nation his senior year.

"I haven't really, fully, kind of processed it," Hill's high school coach Josh Giles said. "I told people I haven't had a lot of emotion with it because I still don't believe it."

Giles described Hill as a tremendous athlete with an outstanding work ethic, even as a high schooler.

"You'd see him here during the summer months — he'd be in here at 6 a.m., 6:30 in the morning up in our weight room lifting weights," he said. 

Above all, he remembers Hill for his "great personality" and "his smile was like, you know, he could light up a room."

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