Former San Francisco 49ers Player Jason Hairston Dies at 47 by Suicide

Former San Francisco 49ers player Jason Hairston died on Tuesday, Sept. 4. He was 47.

Harrison's family announced the sad news on the website for his outdoor sporting company KUIU on Wednesday. The company said he took his own life.

"We are incredibly saddened to report that Jason Hairston, the visionary leader and founder of KUIU, was found dead at his home in Dixon, CA on September 4, 2018. He took his own life," the statement reads. "He is survived by his wife Kirstyn and two children. The family has requested that donations be made to support CTE-related research at the Boston University Concussion Legacy Foundation in lieu of sending flowers."

"Jason was the first to recognize a need within the outdoor community for products of uncompromising quality, designed to thrive in the harshest conditions. Jason was a visionary leader who worked tirelessly to bring his concept to life, and his legacy lives on in KUIU's spirit of relentless innovation," Brendan Burns, a close friend of Hairston's and a KUIU executive, added.

Hairston was also close friends with Donald Trump Jr. In March 2017, Politico reported that Hairston was hired to act as a liaison between the U.S. Interior Department, sportsmen's groups and the Trump Administration.

Trump shared photos of Hairston joining him on hunting trips and paid tribute with a heartfelt Instagram post.

"Jason, I have no words," Trump wrote. "I will always remember our adventures and sharing a campfire with you. They will be some of my fondest experiences in the outdoors. You were and will continue to be an inspiration to all outdoorsmen and women for generations to come. Thanks for the friendship and the memories buddy. I'm going to miss you. R.I.P."

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Hairston was a star linebacker for U.C. Davis in the 1990s. He had brief stints in the NFL with the 49ers and Denver Broncos until injuries forced him to retire in 1996 at 24 years old.

After leaving football, Hairston worked in real estate. In 2005, he founded the hunting gear company Sitka, which he later sold. He then founded KUIU. In 2017, Forbes reported that the business did $50 million in sales in its fifth year.

"Your biggest dreams are possible. Find what you truly love," Hairston told Forbes when asked if he had any advice for entrepreneurs. "Become an absolute expert in this, and you can build a career or business. You will never reach your full potential both in life and in business unless you do what you love. Most people use fear to come up with the reasons they should not chase their dreams. Instead, use fear to motivate you to work harder and prepare more. Then, these dreams will happen."


Photo credit: Instagram/KUIU