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University of Illinois Wrestler Francis Edelen Killed In Car Accident Wednesday

A generic picture of wrestling shoes on a wrestling mat.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The Illinois wrestling program is mourning the loss of one of its members today.

Redshirt sophomore wrestler Francis Edelen, was killed in a car accident Wednesday night, the program announced today. Edelen, 21, was an Oak Forest, Illinois native.

“This is shocking news for our team and coaching staff as no words can truly reflect the emotions that we are going through at this time," said Illinois wrestling coach Jim Heffernan. "Francis was a productive member of our program. We are extremely saddened by this news. We just released this news to our team, so the healing process after the loss of a teammate and friend has just begun.”

According to a report from the News-Gazette, Edelen was the driver of a car involved in a two-car accident on I-57 southbound Wednesday evening. He left the scene of the crash, possibly to flag down help or obtain a ride to find assistance.

In the process of leaving the scene, Edelen was struck and killed by an unknown car in the right lane.

“Our hearts are broken by the news of Francis Edelen’s passing," said Illinois Director of Athletics Josh Whitman. "Losing someone so early in his life when he has so much yet to experience and to give is a tragedy of the highest order. Our thoughts are with Francis’ family and friends. We will come together and draw strength from each other as an Illini family during this difficult time.”

Edelen compiled an overall record of 8-26-4 in his time with the Illini. He went 6-8 as a sophomore including a 4-2 record in the Greyhound Open.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Edelen's friends and family and the Illinois wrestling program.