Jason Hairston, a member of the Trump administration, committed suicide days after returning from a hunting trip with Donald Trump Jr.
A former NFL linebacker, Hairston played on both the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos. After retiring, he founded the hunting apparel company KUIU, now a $50 million company, according to the New York Post.
“We are shocked and saddened to announce the tragic passing of KUIU founder Jason Hairston. His legacy lives on in KUIU’s spirit of relentless innovation,” read a message from his company’s Twitter account.
We are shocked and saddened to announce the tragic passing of KUIU founder Jason Hairston. His legacy lives on in KUIU’s spirit of relentless innovation. pic.twitter.com/oyldbQdYmI
— KUIU (@KUIU) September 6, 2018
Hairston was good friends with President Donald Trump’s oldest son, who reportedly helped him secure a position at the Department of the Interior.
He served as a liaison between Ryan Zinke, the 52nd US Secretary of the Interior, and sportsmen’s group on conservation and public lands issues.
The former NFL player had just returned from a hunting trip Trump Jr. in Canada, calling his friend a “a great hunting partner” on Instagram.
Trump Jr shared a message on the passing of his friend on Instagram.
“Jason, I have no words,” the message said. “I will always remember our adventures and sharing a campfire with you. They will be some of my fondest experiences in the outdoors. You were and will continue to be an inspiration to all outdoorsmen and women for generations to come. Thanks for the friendship and the memories buddy. I’m going to miss you. R.I.P.”
Here’s a photo of the two shared on Trump’s page:
View this post on Instagram
Was able to get out on the water for a bit before we left camp in the Yukon. Caught some great Northern Pike. Just awesome fish who hit hard and fast. Love the look on @jasonmhairston’s face in the second pic. That’s the “I realize I’m about to lose the fishing competition to Don” look… Not that anything with this crew would ever get competetive???????. @mattforsyth7 @aj.kissel #fishing #outdoors #yukon #kuiu #adventure
Hairston said in 2016 that he was suffering from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a cognitive brain disease common with athletes who’ve suffered repetitive hits to the head.
“I played linebacker, and the way I played the game, I led with my head. I played the way they tell us not to play now,” he told CNBC in 2016. “I have all the symptoms of CTE.”
Hairston is survived by his wife, Kirstyn, and their two young children.
“The family has requested that donations be made to support CTE-related research at the Boston University Concussion Legacy Foundation in lieu of sending flowers,” the KUIU website stated.
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