A day after a Northwestern women’s basketball player was found dead in her dorm room, the Cook (Ill.) County medical examiner’s office issued the results of its autopsy. Jordan Hankins, a 19-year-old sophomore, was ruled to have committed suicide by hanging.
The university previously had said there were no indications of foul play in Hankins’s death, nor had other students reason to feel “any danger or threat” to themselves. Hankins and her teammates had returned from a road game Saturday at Maryland, where she scored four points in eight minutes in a 96-65 loss.
Patricia Telles-Irvin, Northwestern’s vice president for student affairs, said in a statement Tuesday (via the Chicago Tribune) that Hankins’s death “comes as a shock to our community, and even more so for those who knew her closely.” The Wildcats’ game Wednesday at Minnesota was postponed indefinitely.
“We talked for the last time a week ago and everything seemed good,” Hankins’s brother, Jared, told the Indianapolis Star. A basketball player at the same Indianapolis high school where his sister was a star athlete, Jared Hankins added, “She was happy.”
“She meant a lot to me,” he said of Hankins. “She was my role model.”
“Jordan was a remarkably dynamic young woman,” Wildcats Coach Joe McKeown said in a statement Monday. “This is a devastating loss for our basketball family. She brought an unwavering intensity and commitment to everything in her life. We will miss her enormously.”
Northwestern’s vice president for athletics, Jim Phillips, said Monday, “We are heartbroken and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jordan Hankins. Our love and thoughts are with her family, teammates and friends. Jordan made a dramatic impact on our Wildcats community. Our department is solely focused on supporting those who adored her.”
Hankins was a 5-foot-8 guard who was averaging 3.6 points over 11 games this season, and she was in the school’s pre-med academic track.
“The most important things we can do are to remember Jordan’s life, the tremendous impact she had on her family and friends, and take care of each other as a community,” Telles-Irvin said. “We mourn her loss and remember the gift of her presence in our midst.”