A wave of shock and sorrow spread across the country shortly after Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead on Tuesday.
From Gov. Jay Inslee to pro athletes to the WSU community, news of the 21-year-old’s apparent suicide elicited an array of responses.
Fans, friends and students placed items honoring Hilinski by the bronze cougar statue outside Martin Stadium.
Hilinski was WSU’s back-up quarterback but turned in one of the team’s best performances early in the season. The Cougars were trailing Boise State 31-10 with 11 minutes to play on Sept. 9. Hilinski, inserted in the game in place of starter Luke Falk, led the Cougars to a 47-44 win in triple overtime. He saw significant playing time in a loss to Arizona and got his first start in the Holiday Bowl, a 42-17 loss to Michigan State.
Hilinski’s body was found at his apartment on Tuesday along with a rifle and a suicide note. Pullman Police continue to investigate.
“I’m so (expletive) angry, I can’t stop crying,” tweeted former WSU quarterback Ryan Leaf. “Every human life is precious. All I wish is that I could’ve been in that apt in Pullman, looked that amazing young man in the eyes & said you’re loved Tyler! I’m just like you & I’ve been here & there is hope, hugged him & never let go.”
Twitter was flooded with reaction. Here’s a sample: