Former Texas linebacker Jake Ehlinger's death in May is believed to be the result of an "accidental overdose," according to a statement released Thursday by his family. The family said they believe that Ehlinger, the brother of former Texas star and current Indianapolis quarterback Sam Ehlinger, died after taking "Xanax laced with toxic drugs including deadly Fentanyl."
On May 6, Austin police found Jake Ehlinger, 20, on the 1200 block of West 22nd street after responding to a call at 12:18 p.m. The Colts had drafted Sam Ehlinger in the sixth round only five days before.
"Today we are sad to share that we have learned that Jake was a victim of an accidental overdose of what was believed to be Xanax laced with toxic drugs including deadly Fentanyl," the Ehlinger family wrote in the statement. "The spread of counterfeit pills is an ongoing and significant issue throughout our country, particularly in schools, colleges, and universities.
NEW: Jake Ehlinger's family release statement regarding his death. Part of it reads, "Today we are sad to share that we have learned that Jake was a victim of an accidental overdose of what was believed to be Xanax laced w/toxic drugs including... Fentanyl." #jakeehlinger #kvue pic.twitter.com/LmomTHuTWq— Jenni Lee (@JenniL_KVUE) October 21, 2021
"As our family continues to process Jake's death, we felt it was important to share these details with the hope that Jake will not have died in vain," the statement continued. "We pray that sharing Jake's story will help shed light on this problem and prevent other families from also tragically losing a loved one."
Ehlinger's funeral was held at the Riverbend Church for Hope in Austin, the family's hometown, on May 12. Sam, who was in Indianapolis at the time of his brother's death, flew back to speak at the funeral.
"Our hearts are broken, and we are still grieving over the loss of our son and brother, Jake," the Ehlinger family wrote. "We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support received since his untimely passing in May. We sincerely thank everyone who has reached out."
Jake Ehlinger was entering his redshirt sophomore season at Texas, but the Westlake High graduate had yet to play for the Longhorns.