Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski, Holiday Bowl starter, dead in apparent suicide: Police

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State University Quarterback Tyler Hilinksi, who started in the Holiday Bowl last month, was found dead in his Pullman, Washington, apartment with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said Tuesday night, according to KTLA.

Hilinksi's body was discovered around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday after officers were dispatched to the Aspen Village Apartments to perform a welfare check on a football player who failed to show up to practice that day, according to a Pullman Police Department news release obtained by KSWB sister station KCPQ in Seattle.

Tyler Hilinski #3 of the Washington State Cougars passes the ball against the Michigan State Spartans during the first half of the SDCCU Holiday Bowl at SDCCU Stadium on December 28, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Police believe the 21-year-old shot himself in the head.

"A rifle was recovered next to Hilinski and a suicide note was found,” the release stated.

Detectives and the Whitman County coroner's office are working to confirm a cause of death, police said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hilinski family," Washington State President Kirk Schulz said in a tweet.

Hilinski, a redshirt sophomore, was the backup to quarterback Luke Falk for the Cougars last season and was expected to compete for the starting job this fall.

He appeared in eight games during the 2017 season for the Pac-12 school, passing for 1,176 yards and seven touchdowns. He led the Cougars to a comeback victory over Boise State and made his first collegiate start -- a 47-14 loss to No. 18 Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego -- late last month, according to his biography on Washington State's website.

Hilinski, from Claremont, played quarterback at Upland High School, where he set or broke nine school records.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts and needs help, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline Information at 1-800-273-8255.