The athletics world is mourning the tragic death of University of Wisconsin track star Sarah Shulze at age 21.
Shulze’s family announced the devastating news, saying she "took her own life".
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“Balancing athletics, academics and the demands of everyday life overwhelmed her in a single, desperate moment," the family said in a statement.
"Like you, we are shocked and grief stricken while holding on tightly to all that Sarah was.
“Above all other things, Sarah was a power for good in the world.
"Her deep compassion was evident in her devotion to her sisters Abbey and Ella, the love her parents felt from her every single day, and the extra care she took in moments shared with her grandparents and cousins.”
Wisconsin officials also shared their devastation while paying tribute to Shulze.
“Sarah was a beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend, teammate and Badger student-athlete,” the university said in a statement.
“We extend our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to Sarah’s family, friends and Badger teammates during this extraordinarily difficult time.
"Our primary focus is the support of the Shulze family and our student-athletes.”
The Wisconsin Athletics community is heartbroken by the unexpected passing of Sarah Shulze pic.twitter.com/HNXK8KvJ1Q
— Wisconsin Badgers (@UWBadgers) April 22, 2022
Athletics world mourns death of Sarah Shulze
Shulze competed in cross country, as well as indoor and outdoor track,
The 21-year-old earned academic honours in 2020 and 2021 for cross country and in 2021 for track.
In 2018, she was named Ventura County Athlete of the Year and earned a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin.
Family members said she had been an intern at the Wisconsin legislature and volunteered as a poll worker during the 2020 presidential election.
“These experiences helped develop her deep love for politics, social causes and women’s rights,” her family said.
“Sarah regarded herself as a champion for all women, as did the many family members, friends, students and athletes who surrounded her.”
The family have since announced they are starting the 'Sarah Shulze Foundation', a charity to support women’s rights, student athletes, and mental health - “the causes most important to our Sarah.”
“We thank you for respecting our family’s privacy during this time,” the family said.
“We also thank you for your love and strength as we are all just beginning to mourn this unexpected and unfathomable loss.”
Tributes have been flooding in on social media, with Australian tennis great Rennae Stubbs writing: "No matter what, no matter how bad it seems at the time, reach out, PLEASE reach out.
"This is so heartbreaking. There is so much hate in this world and confusion for these kids.
"Suicide is the 2ND leading cause of death in the US in youths. Ask yourself why!?"
No matter what, no matter how bad it seems at the time, reach out, PLEASE reach out. This is so heartbreaking. There is so much hate in this world & confusion for these kids. Suicide is the 2ND leading cause of death in the US in youths. Ask yourself why!? https://t.co/1IkYEMM14x
— Rennae Stubbs OLY (@rennaestubbs) April 25, 2022
Our statement on the passing of Sarah Shulze ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Wg7a31TITO
— UNCUT Madison (@uncut_madison) April 24, 2022
We join Wisconsin in mourning the loss of Sarah Shulze.
Our condolences to her family, friends and teammates. https://t.co/C44sz8wWfY
— NCAA (@NCAA) April 23, 2022
Pressures of school & being a student athlete be overwhelming. We remember 21-yr old Sarah Schulze of @UWBadgers. Our thoughts & prayers go out to her family/friends. #RIP
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are having a mental-health crisis, pls call 1-800-273-8255 pic.twitter.com/PbX7qhdjjG
— Faux James Franklin (@faux_franklin) April 24, 2022
We must commit resources to #MentalHealth and the overall well being of our young people. Pay attention to those who may be reaching out for help. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Shulze family and Badger Nation. #SarahShulze
— Matthew Welsh, RAA (@MatthewWelshAD) April 24, 2022
Very tragic news regarding former Oak Park HS distance runner Sarah Shulze. Very sad. Please keep her family and friends in your thoughts. 🥺💔 https://t.co/VAhtTVOGjb
— Rich Gonzalez (@PrepCalTrack) April 20, 2022
— Stephany C. Coakley (@BAForceofNature) April 23, 2022
Another heartbreaking loss for the student-athlete community. We need to change the way in which mental health resources are being offered and utilized. This starts with the @NCAA. Sarah Shulze deserved better. We deserve better. https://t.co/2IIsJVxUzZ
— Ang (@Angie_Rafter) April 23, 2022
with Associated Press
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