The family of former Ohio State football player and wrestler Kosta Karageorge, who was found dead Sunday, released its first public statement since his body was found.
The statement was released by Karageorge’s sister Sophia to the Northeast Ohio Media Group on Tuesday night on behalf of the entire family, according to Cleveland.com.
“The Karageorge Family would like to thank the friends, family, coaches, teammates, and even kind strangers who helped us in the search for Kosta,” the statement read.
“Kosta was a beloved son, brother, nephew, grandson, cousin, and friend. His untimely death has shocked and devastated all that knew him. As we await official findings and try to understand the circumstances surrounding Kosta’s death, we ask that the media allow our family time to grieve privately.”
Karageorge’s funeral is set to for Wednesday at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Columbus, Cleveland.com said.
His body was found Sunday near East Sixth and Courtland avenues at about 2:30 p.m. in a dumpster, and tattoos confirmed his identity. It was unclear how long his body had been there, Columbus Division of Police Sgt. Richard Weiner said in a press conference at the scene Sunday evening.
Karageorge was a redshirt-senior defensive lineman on the football team and had been missing since Nov. 26 at about 2 a.m.
Karageorge died from a gunshot wound, but the manner in which he died is still undetermined, Franklin County coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz said Monday based on a preliminary autopsy report.
Weiner said Sunday that the gunshot wound appeared to be self-inflicted. A handgun — later confirmed to belong to Karageorge — was found in the dumpster with Karageorge’s body, Weiner said. He said the investigation into Karageorge’s death was ongoing.
Police are not releasing information about the gun’s make, the model or when Karageorge purchased it, Weiner said Monday.
Sophia Karageorge told The Columbus Dispatch on Thursday that he was last seen at his apartment on East 7th Avenue before he left to take a walk.
Kosta Karageorge joined the football team in August as a walk-on, and was a member of the OSU wrestling team since 2011.
Shortly before he went missing, Kosta Karageorge had reportedly sent a text message to his mother: “Sorry if I am an embarrassment, but these concussions have my head all (expletive) up.”
His sister told The New York Times he had suffered a concussion in September and had sustained at least four or five over time.
OSU’s Department of Athletics issued a statement after Kosta Karageorge was identified, saying the department was “shocked and saddened” to learn of his death.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Karageorge family, and those who knew him, during this most difficult time,” the statement read.