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Former UCLA Player Billy Knight Found Dead at 39 After Being Charged With Sexually Abusing a Child

Billy Knight Dead
Billy Knight of the UCLA Bruins holds the ball during the NCAA basketball game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles in January 12, 2002. Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Former UCLA basketball player Billy Knight was found dead in Phoenix on Sunday, July 8, the Phoenix Police Department confirms to Us Weekly. He was 39.

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Knight’s body was found on a roadway at 2:45 a.m. He was pronounced dead by the Phoenix Fire Department. There was no evidence of foul play. The cause of death is being determined by the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The former athlete was arrested in Phoenix on June 13. He was charged with six felonies for allegedly sexually abusing a female child between April 2017 and March 2018. He posted $100,000 bail and had been ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device. If convicted, he faced more than 50 years in prison.

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In the hours leading up to his death, Knight posted a since-deleted video titled “I Am Sorry Lord” on YouTube. “This is probably my last message on Earth,” he said, via CBS News. “I just want to say that I lived a life of sin. I lied, I cheated and I stole from many people. I was a taker. That’s why my life ended up where it is now.”

He also said he had been hearing voices in his head. “Life is not a game. You can’t play around with life. It’s serious, and I wasn’t honest with a lot of people, even my mom, my brother and my family members,” he said. “I isolated myself from my family members. I isolated myself from my friends, and that’s not something you should do. … I’m lost in life, and I feel like there’s no hope. I have no friends with me here. I have no wife, girlfriend. I have nothing, and I just feel like I can’t continue on.”

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Knight was a guard and forward at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1998 to 2002. He was not picked in the 2002 NBA draft and later played professionally in France and Japan.

The UCLA men’s basketball team released a statement via Twitter after Knight’s death: “Our hearts are heavy after learning Billy Knight has passed away. We ask that the Bruin family keep Billy’s loved ones in their thoughts during this difficult time.”

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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