Ball State’s community was sent reeling after the death of men’s basketball player Zachary Hollywood.
Hollywood, 19, was found dead in the Varsity House Muncie apartments after what the Delaware County Coroner Scott Hahn says appears to be a suicide.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Zach Hollywood,” men’s basketball head coach James Whitford said in a public statement. “Zach was a terrific young man with an incredibly bright future in front of him. His loss is a true tragedy for all those who knew and loved him.”
Hollywood was entering his second year as a student-athlete after redshirting his first season. He majored in special education, a decision his former AAU coach Barry Bradford says made him stand out.
"That's the kind of heart that he had,” Bradford “He worked with the Best Buddies program and worked with kids with special needs and he was always there for those kids. He just gave all of his heart. He was an incredibly kind-hearted, good-hearted kid."
Ball State’s official statement described the “positive impressions” he made throughout campus during his year at the school.“Zach has been a part of our community for the past year,” the statement read.
“During his time on campus, he was a member of the men’s basketball team and made many positive impressions throughout campus. This is a tragedy. Our heartfelt condolences are with his family, friends and teammates.”
Once the news of Hollywood’s death became public, his teammates took to social media to share their condolences.
“Not just a teammate but my best friend and my brother,” junior center Trey Moses tweeted. “I love you bro, watch over me.”
“Words can’t even explain how hurt I am to lose the teammate, a friend, and a brother!” senior guard Jeremie Tyler tweeted. “We love you Hollywood! You will always be apart [sic] of us Zach!”
With friends, fans and posting about Hollywood’s death, word quickly reached Micah Bradford, a sophomore at Valparaiso and Hollywood’s former teammate at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in Illinois.
“Well I was walking back to my dorm from class and just about fell on the ground from my legs getting weak and I was in complete disbelief,” he said.
Though Hollywood didn’t get the chance to play in a game for Ball State, he was named second-team all-state as a senior at Bradley-Bourbonnais after averaging 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds.
“Best way I can describe it is [Hollywood was] one of the best people to go to war with,” Micah Bradford said. “You just know that no matter what he’s by your side fighting with you. [The] one person in my high school career I’ve never asked if they were ready was him because he’s ready for a fight every time.”
Hollywood was born Feb. 7, 1998 to Scott and Susan Hollywood. Susan was described by the Kankakee Daily Journal as but just weeks before Zach began classes at Ball State last fall, Susan died at the age of 49.
While there is no current date set for a service as of the print of this publication, community members continue to wrap their heads around Zach Hollywood’s death.