Former UCLA basketball player Billy Knight has died. TMZ reports that Knight’s body was discovered on a roadway in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday morning. He was 39. Many have wondered how Knight died, and what state the former UCLA player was in at the time of his premature death.
What was Knight’s cause of death?
Bruins Nation reports that Knight died of an apparent suicide. This is largely in part to a video that he recorded days before his death, which he refers to as “his last message on Earth.” In the video, Knight speaks of the mistakes he’s made in the past and how feels remorse for how he’s lived his life. “I lived a life of sin. I lied, I cheated, and I stole. For many people I was a taker, that’s why my life ended up where it is now. Life is not a game. You can’t play around with life.”
Watch the full video below.
Knight goes on to allude to mental illness, and the fact that he distanced himself from those closest to him. “I isolated myself from my family, I isolated myself from my friends, and that’s not something you should do,” he said. “If this happens, you probably have a mental illness. Mental illness is serious. I hear voices in my head constantly, and I don’t know where they come from. I just ask God for forgiveness for all the wrong I’ve done.”
Knight played for UCLA from 1998-2002, where, according to Daily News, he averaged more than 14 points per game his senior season before entering into the 2002 NBA Draft. He went undrafted, and later played professionally overseas, with stints in France and Japan. After his playing career was over, Knight worked as a basketball skills coach.
Several athletes and former teammates of Knight have taken to social media to pay tribute to him. “Sad. Sad. Sad. Rest Easy Billy Knight. Another bruin gone,” wrote ex-UCLA player Lorenzo Mata. “Another athlete gone. Mental illness IS NOT A JOKE!!! I’m here for EVERYONE who needs to talk. We ALL go through problems. Don’t be AFRAID TO GET HELP!”
“This has been a tough week for the Bruin Family,” tweeted Tracy Murray. “If you need to talk to someone, please reach out and talk. Don’t let it get to the point where you would take your life. Billy Knight was a good dude & will be missed. Bruins, we have to be better supporters!”
Ronnie Flores, revealed that several UCLA alumni were attempting reach out to Knight after he posted his farewell video. “His former teammates and others saw the video. Yesterday evening, UCLA family, myself and others in basketball community were trying to reach out to Billy Knight. By 10 pm PT, it was frantic and serious, as he was in Phoenix/Sedona area. This is devastating news for many.”
See additional tributes below.
The news comes less than a week after former UCLA standout Tyler Honeycutt died. Honeycutt engaged in a shootout with the police on July 6th, and is also being investigated as a suicide, according to Sporting News.
Source: Heavy Sports