According to a statement, Bitsko was found unresponsive in his off-campus apartment at approximately 9 a.m., with police attributing his death to an "undetermined medical issue."
"Kent State University and the entire Kent community mourns his passing," Golden Flashes athletic director Joel Nielsen said. "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."
A native of Huber Heights, Ohio, Bitsko started all 12 games for the Golden Flashes in 2014 and would have been the team's starting center for a second consecutive season. He was given the team's Gerald and Victoria Read Award in April "for exemplifying hard work and dedication beyond the call of duty."
"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."
Bitsko's final, poignant tweet:
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