KENT, Ohio - A Kent State University student and athlete, Jason Bitsko, was found dead in his off-campus apartment Wednesday.
Bitsko died of an undetermined medical issue, the university reports.
A University spokesperson said that the man's roommate was asked to check on Bitsko after he did not show up for practice Wednesday morning. When the roommate went into Bitsko's room, he found him unresponsive on his bed.
Bitsko, 21, was set to begin his fourth year as the starting center on the school's football team.
He graduated from Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio, where he was a teammate of Ohio State Quarterback Braxton Miller. He was studying marketing at Kent State. The last Tweet sent out by a Twitter account that appears to be Bitsko's reads:
There are 86,400 seconds in a day. Make sure you use one of those to thank god for everything you have #stayfocused— Baby Elephant (@isthatbitsko) August 14, 2014
"You know that's him, that's who he was," said friend and Student Body President Marvin Logan. "I think that's what his spirit that lies with us will always be," he said.
By evening students began the process of honoring that memory by painting "the Rock," a decades long campus symbol, in Bitsko's memory.
"The Kent State family, the Kent State community is always uplifting each other whether it's somebody you didn't know or somebody you're really close with everybody at Kent rallies around each other," said Cheerleading Coach Whitney Cleland who was overseeing the work on the rock.
In a statement Kent State's Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen said “Kent State University and the entire Kent community mourns his passing.”
"We are heartbroken by the news of Jason’s death. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, teammates and everyone whose lives he touched.”
“Our players, coaches and everyone involved with our team are hurting because he was family,” said Kent State head football coach Paul Haynes. “As a team, we will come together and get through this one day at a time.”
The school is providing counseling to student athletes and athletic department staff. Counseling is always available at Psychological Services at the DeWeese Health Center at 330-672-2487, through the Counseling and Human Development Center in White Hall and the Psychological Clinic in Kent Hall.