Sad news to pass along out of Illinois this week. Hunter Mason, a standout Western Illinois defender, passed away Wednesday, the program announced.

Mason passed at his home in Nevada, Missouri. He had been receiving care for his battle against Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

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“The loss of Hunter is tragic and heartbreaking,” WIU Football Strength and Conditioning Coach Jon Minnis said in a program release. “For those who were fortunate enough to know Hunter, he was an incredible young man with an infectiously positive personality. We are extremely proud of Hunter and devastated by his passing.”

A member of WIU football since 2018, Mason appeared in 29 contests, making 15 starts, with 11 coming in the Leathernecks’ Fall 2021 season. In his career, Mason totaled 9 sacks, 56 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. Mason was an All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Honorable Mention linebacker in 2021

Mason graduated from WIU in 3 years as an Honors Scholar with High Academic Distinction, Summa Cum Laude, with an undergraduate degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration. He was pursuing a Master’s degree in Sport Management during the 2021-22 academic year. Mason was a 3-time MVFC Honor Roll selection, 2-time MVFC All-Academic Honorable Mention and 2-time MVFC Commissioner’s Excellence List of Academic Excellence award winner.

Mason was 22.