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Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio remembered former Spartans defensive back Mylan Hicks as “a beautiful person” and called the shooting death of the 23-year-old Detroit native “tragic.”

Hicks, a member of the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League, was shot during an altercation at a Calgary nightclub early Sunday morning.

“He went through everything with a great deal of excitement,” Dantonio said of the former Detroit Renaissance standout. “A very competitive person and just enjoyed playing football and being around our program. You know, was a great student as well – graduated from here. Many very personal talks with him, in and out of those five years being here. You know, he went 100 miles an hour.

“No. 6 was a beautiful person. 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, and this is just tragic. It’s sort of rocked our Spartan football community.”

Hicks’ death comes less than two months after Sadler, the former Michigan State punter, was killed in a car accident in Wisconsin.

The Calgary Stampeders issued a statement confirming Hicks’ death on Sunday saying, “Mylan’s life was taken in act of violence early on Sunday morning.”

Team president and general manager John Hufnagel added, “Obviously this is an extremely difficult and upsetting time for the players and staff. It’s a terrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mylan’s family.”

“The loss of this 23-year-old young man at this stage of his life and his career is an unfathomable tragedy,” said Ken King, president and CEO of the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation. “Our sympathies to Mylan’s family and to the Stampeders family of players, coaches and staff.”

According to news reports, police responded to the Marquee Beer Market on the Southwest side of Calgary at about 2:30 a.m. after reports of shots fired. Hicks was transported to hospital in life-threatening condition and later died from his injuries.

Insp. Don Coleman with the Calgary police major crimes section told the Calgary Sun that three adult male suspects were arrested near the bar following the shooting, including one suspect who was known to police.

The Sun also said Coleman told reporters there was an altercation inside the nightclub prior to closing time, which continued outside the bar and escalated to the point where shots were fired in the parking lot and Hicks was struck.

“I think the altercation in the bar was with maybe a little bit larger group and continued outside, where rounds were fired,” he said.

Hicks was undrafted out of Michigan State after earning his psychology degree but was signed as a free agent by the San Francisco 49ers in 2015. He signed in May with the Stampeders and was a member of the practice squad.

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 played at Michigan State from 2010-14, recording a career-high 19 tackles as a senior in 2014. Injuries limited him during his time with the Spartans and he finished with 27 tackles in 32 games. Hicks spent time in 2015 with the San Francisco 49ers.

As a senior at Renaissance in 2009, Hicks was ranked a four-star prospect and the No. 10 cornerback in the country by Scout.com.

He was ranked the No. 18 player in the state on the Detroit News Blue Chip list in 2010.

“We’re deeply saddened here,” Dantonio said. “Our entire football program – coaches, staff and players – are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Mylan Hicks. We will miss him deeply.”

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @mattcharboneau

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