Tyler Hilinski had the entire world in front of him. He was 21 years old and set to take the reigns as Washington State’s starting quarterback this coming season — a status in life that thousands of other talented young men try and fail to reach. Here he was after stepping in in relief to lead Washington State to a come-from-behind triple overtime win over Boise State in September.

All that external status and praise could not calm the storm inside him, however, as Hilinski was found dead on Tuesday in what police are calling an apparent suicide.

Said Tyler’s older brother Ryan on behalf of the family:

“We, as a family, are grieving after receiving news that my brother, Tyler Hilinski took his own life this afternoon. We are in complete shock and disarray. Tyler was the kid that put a smile on everybody’s face when they were down, especially his family. We will mourn the loss of Tyler for some time but celebrate the way he lived his life every day.”

Added Mike Leach:

“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.”

It seems impossible that the same person in the photo above, exalted literally and figuratively above those around them, could see no value in his own life, but nothing about this or any other young person’s suicide makes sense.

It is, though, a stark reminder that none of us know the struggles those around us are going through.


Scott’s addition: Mental health issues are very real. Talk with your friends, neighbors and loved ones. Let them all know they are loved. Show them you care and you love.

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National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.