A star student athlete in Wisconsin has died of suicide, her family says.
Sarah Shulze, 21, died on Wednesday, 13 April, the Shulze family said in a statement. The University of Wisconsin student and track star was 21 years old. According to her family, she “took her own life.”
“Balancing athletics, academics and the demands of everyday life overwhelmed her in a single, desperate moment,” the family said. “Like you, we are shocked and grief stricken while holding on tightly to all that Sarah was.”
The statement did elaborate on the circumstances of Ms Shulze’s death, but said she was “surrounded by her loving family” when she passed.
Ms Shulze ran on her university’s track and cross country teams, and had been an award-winning distance runner at her high school in Oak Park, California. In 2018, she was named Ventura County Athlete of the Year, and won a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin.
On Friday, the school mourned Ms Shulze’s passing in a statement.
“The Wisconsin Athletics community is heartbroken by the unexpected passing of Sarah Shulze, a junior with the Badger women’s track and field and cross country teams,” the University of Wisconsin wrote on Twitter. “Sarah was a beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend, teammate and Badger student-athlete.”
The Wisconsin Athletics community is heartbroken by the unexpected passing of Sarah Shulze pic.twitter.com/HNXK8KvJ1Q
In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Ms Shulze was becoming increasingly involved in community service, her family said. She was a member of the Student Athlete Council at her university, worked an internship at the Wisconsin State Legislature, and volunteered as a poll worker in the 2020 election.
“These experiences helped develop her deep love for politics, social causes and women’s rights,” her family wrote. “Sarah regarded herself as a champion for all women, as did the many family members, friends, students and athletes who surrounded her.”
On Friday, the family announced that they were starting the Sarah Shulze Foundation, a charity to support women’s rights, student athletes, and mental health – “the causes most important to our Sarah.”
A memorial service for Ms Shulze is scheduled for 2 May in Westlake Village, California.
“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.”