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EWU football player's death apparent suicide


Last updated 1/16/2020 at 11:01am

George Becker

GRIDLEY, CALIF. – The high school alma mater of Eastern Washington University freshman lineman George Becker released a statement over the weekend saying the former Bulldog died by "apparent suicide." Becker, 18, was away at winter break in California when his death was announced on Jan. 8.

"The death of any young person is a loss which, in one way or another, diminishes each of us," Gridley High School officials said in a letter to GHS families. "The tragic circumstances of George's death is perhaps more shocking and more difficult to accept."

According to the Eagles 2019 roster information, Becker graduated from Gridley in 2019. He earned All-Butte View League honors in 2017 and 2018 and was the Bulldog's Offensive Lineman of the Year both seasons. He twice received a scholar-athlete award and earned Gridley Herald All-Area honors as a defensive lineman, tallying 33 tackles as a junior and 34 as a senior.

"We are extremely saddened by the loss of a great person, family member, teammate and friend," EWU head coach Aaron Best said in a statement. "George touched many along his journey and he was loved by them all. Rest in peace George. We love you."

Services for Becker were held Saturday, Jan. 11 at the Church of Latter Day Saints in Gridley. High school officials said they will be hosting a suicide prevention and information forum for all Gridley Unified parents on Jan. 16.

According to the Washington State Department of Health, suicide is complex, with multiple causes including psychiatric illnesses that may not have been recognized or treated.

"However, these illnesses are treatable," the DOH said on its website.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free, 24/7 service that can provide suicidal persons or those around them with support information and local resources, and is available by calling 1-800-274-TALK (8255).

John McCallum can be reached at


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