WSU students, teammates, family gather to honor Tyler Hilinski

WSU football players huddled around the memorial to Tyler Hilinski at the cougar statue outside Martin Stadium. (Photo: KOMO News)

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Days after he was found dead, Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinski was honored by hundreds of his fellow students and others Friday night.

With lit candles and kind wishes to his family, the students met around the cougar statue outside Martin Stadium. It was a silent and somber event.

"We really are a family here at WSU. We may not all know each other very well, but we all care about what happens to each other," said freshman Katie Ankrom.

Staff, students, teammates and family stood shoulder to shoulder outside Martin Stadium.

“Seeing how people come together, like unite, in a really sad moment” is how freshman, Ilya Panek described it.

Hilinski, 21, was found dead in his apartment on Tuesday after he didn't show up for practice. His death has been ruled a suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.

Sorrow in its rawest form was seen Friday night when Hilinski's mother in a letterman jacket took a moment at the memorial that has grown for her son. She was joined by other family members.

Toward the end of the hour-long vigil, Hilinksi's teammates walked through and huddled around the statue. They broke with a single word chant: "Family!"

Jordan Frost, president of the Associate Students of Washington State University coordinated the vigil.

He told KOMO News it was important to have a unified time and place for the campus to come together as it heals.

Washington State has counseling services at all six of its campus locations across the state.

Hilinski, a backup the past two seasons, was the presumed starter for the Cougars heading into his junior season.

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