The family of former Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski is continuing to go through the grieving process following his death earlier this year. In a letter written to the entire Washington State community, the family expressed its gratitude to the reception and reactions that have continued to come their way after Hilinski was found dead in an apparent suicide.
In a lengthy letter shared with Cougars fans via the SB Nation site CougCenter, the Hilinski family thanked Washington State fans for “outpouring of love and support, words of kindness and encouragement” and “the amazing amount of love” shown for Hilinski.
As shared via CougCenter;
From the spring games to the fall scrimmages and camps and the games every weekend … in class and around town … he was touched by all of you. And so are we. Please accept this note as a very small thank you on behalf of the entire Hilinski family for every text, email, card, flower, prayer, poem and dollar raised in support of keeping Tyler’s memory alive. It is important to us that we tell you how much this means to us and will continue to help support us in the darkest days ahead. Let them never stop.
The letter goes on to say the family is still trying to come to grips with what exactly happened in leading up to Hilinski’s death, and the family says they will provide whatever information they can as they receive it so the entire community can get a better understanding of what happened. Hilinksi was found dead as the result of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot to the head, however, the sequence of events and personal details that may have led to such a tragic end for Hilinski continues to be explored.
Washington State quarterback Luke Falk will not get the chance to impress NFL scouts in the Senior Bowl this weekend, but he will be OK with that given the circumstances. Falk reportedly took himself out of the Senior Bowl on Friday so he could fly back to the west coast and attend the funeral services for former Cougars teammate Tyler Hilinski.
Stefanie Loh of The Seattle Times reported the news via Twitter.
Before making the decision to leave Mobile, Alabama to attend the funeral services for Hilinski, Falk was wearing Hilinski’s uniform number for Senior Bowl practices. It was Falk’s intention to raise awareness about Hilinski, who died in an apparent suicide attempt last week.
No replacement is expected to be made for Falk’s roster spot given the late timing of his departure and the game being played on Saturday.
Luke Falk of Washington State will be honoring his teammate while at the Senior Bowl this week in Mobile, Alabama. Following the death of Tyler Hilinski, Falk will wear Hilinski’s No. 3 in his memory.
“I just felt like [the jersey switch] is what I needed to do. He needs to be remembered,” Falk told reporters during a media opportunity, according to ESPN. “He was an amazing person and an amazing soul. This guy was one of the most outgoing, bubbly … just a guy you want to be around. And people need to know it.”
Hilinksi was found dead in his apartment last week in an apparent suicide. Just 21 years old, Hilinski’s death raised awareness about suicide and suicide prevention resources that are made available to anyone who may need them. By wearing Hilinski’s uniform number this week at the Senior Bowl, Falk hopes to continue the effort to rasie awareness as best he possibly can.
“We really want Tyler to be remembered and this to be talked about,” Falk said. “I mean, when suicide is the leading cause of death of men from 18 to 45 years old, it should be talked about. And we should do something about it. I feel like at times we feel like we can’t express our emotions because we’re in a masculine sport. And him being a quarterback, people look up to you as a leader, so he felt like he really probably couldn’t talk to anybody. You know, we gotta change some of that stuff. We gotta have resources and not have any more stigma on people going through that.”
This is a simple gesture that will hopefully pay off for suicide prevention and awareness, even if it just helps one person in the long run. Falk will be given plenty of opportunities to keep Hilinski’s memory alive this week as he looks to shine in the Senior Bowl. Considered to be a mid-round quarterback prospect, Falk will have the chance to boost his own draft stock with a solid showing this week in Mobile, and that could also lead to more awareness of Hilinski’s tragic death.