CALGARY, Alberta -- Mylan Hicks, a former Michigan State defensive back and member of the Calgary Stampeders, was killed early Sunday in what the CFL team described as an "act of violence.''
He was 23.
"Obviously this is an extremely difficult and upsetting time for the players and staff,'' Stampeders president and general manager John Hufnagel said in a statement. "It's a terrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mylan's family.''
Police said earlier Sunday they were investigating a shooting outside a Calgary nightclub. They said in a statement that the victim, whom they did not identify, was taken to a hospital in life-threatening condition before dying of his injuries. They later said three suspects had been arrested.
Stampeders defensive back Joshua Bell said Hicks' death was immediately felt in the locker room.
"We lost family today,'' Bell said. "Everybody doesn't react the same, but we lost family today, we're hurting. We're shaken a little bit.
"You lose family, but you have family. We're leaning on each other right now.''
Hicks, who signed with the Stampeders in May and was on Calgary's practice roster, was born in Detroit. At Michigan State, he recorded a career-high 19 tackles and four pass breakups in nine games during his senior year in 2014.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said he learned of Hicks' death around 9 a.m. on Sunday.
"This is just tragic. It's sort of rocked our Spartan football community," Dantonio said.
He compared Hicks to former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler, who died in a car accident this summer.
"No. 6 was a beautiful person," Dantonio said. "Like Mike Sadler in a lot of ways, he just lit a room up when he walked in. He established himself as a leader on our football team in his last year."
Dantonio took to Twitter on Sunday.
Our thoughts and prayers are with The Mylan Hicks family, as well as his extended Spartan Family, as we learn of this tragic loss. #RIP6— Mark Dantonio (@DantonioMark) September 25, 2016
Hicks signed with the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent in May 2015 before being released at the end of training camp.
He hadn't played a game this season with the Stampeders, who are on a 12-game unbeaten streak.
"Everybody's talking about when's the next time we're going to lose, last night we had the most devastating loss we could,'' quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell said. "Football doesn't even seem important right now. We're going to honor him as much as we can and play for him and his family.''
Brian Ramsay, executive director of the CFL players' association, said Hicks was just starting to establish himself as a member of the team and was highly regarded.
"Mylan was a respected young man throughout his collegiate and professional careers,'' Ramsay said in a statement.
Information from ESPN's Dan Murphy and The Associated Press was used in this report.