Answers sought in death of Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski

Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski looks for a receiver during the second half against Arizona on Nov. 5, 2016.
(Young Kwak / Associated Press)

Police on Wednesday were interviewing Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski’s friends and people who knew him to try to learn why he apparently took his life.

Police chief Gary Jenkins said officers have no apparent motive for the death of the 21-year-old athlete, who was found dead in his Pullman, Wash., apartment on Tuesday along with a rifle and a suicide note.

“The missing piece here is why,” said Jenkins, who declined to reveal the contents of the suicide note.

Hilinski’s family in California issued a statement saying they were in “complete shock and disarray” over his death.

“Tyler was the kid that put a smile on everybody’s face when they were down, especially his family,” the statement said. “We will mourn the loss of Tyler for some time but celebrate the way he lived his life every day.”


A makeshift memorial for Hilinski has sprouted near the football stadium on the Pullman campus, next to a bronze statue of the team’s cougar mascot. The memorial included flowers and balloons.

Social media were filled with comments about Hilinski. Former Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf tweeted that he could not stop crying when he heard the news.

Hilinski, a former Upland High standout, backed up Luke Falk last season and was the presumptive starter heading into his junior year. He appeared in eight games during his sophomore season, throwing for 1,176 yards and seven touchdowns.