The grieving mother of a U.S. Navy seaman and SEAL candidate who died hours after completing the notoriously grueling “hell week” has broken her silence with a heartbreaking message just days after the devastating and sudden loss.
“All I can say is myself and mu (sic) other son lost the light of laughter in our life,” said Regina Mullen in a text message response to Fox News Digital on Tuesday, “and he will be missed every day.”
Mullen’s son, 24-year-old Kyle, died in California on Friday of an unknown illness after successfully completing Hell Week, officials have said. The Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL Candidate “was not actively training at the time of his death,” the U.S. Navy confirmed in press release on Sunday.
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According to officials, Mullen and another SEAL candidate were taken to an area hospital after reporting symptoms. Both were rushed to Sharp Coronado Hospital, but Mullen could not be saved. The second SEAL candidate’s condition has since been upgraded to stable.
A spokesperson for the Armed Forces Medical Examiner did not respond to Fox News’ request for information, while the Navy has said the cause of Mullen’s death is unknown and remains under investigation.
Mullen grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Manalapan High School, where he played football. He subsequently attended Monmouth University and then Yale University, where he continued the sport and was designated team captain. He left behind a brother in addition to his mother and other loved ones.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the seaman “represented the very best of our state.”
SCHOOL DISTRICT HONORS KYLE MULLEN, NAVY SEAL CANDIDATE WHO DIED AFTER ‘HELL WEEK’ TRAINING
On Tuesday, a Facebook page titled “Remembering Kyle Mullen” announced a fundraising page to benefit Mullen’s family.
“As a star athlete, natural born leader and someone those around him viewed as unstoppable, no one ever expected that Kyle’s short life would end Friday, February 4, 2022,” the fundraising site reads.
The page describes how Mullen “was beyond excited for all the things he believed lay in wait for his future.”
“While we do not have all the tragic details that led up to, during and immediately following his death, the only fact that matters is Kyle is gone forever,” the site further states. “His mother, Regina, and brother, TJ, cannot even begin to comprehend what it means to go on without him. Kyle was loving, joyous and had a light so bright that he cast no shadows.”
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Friends and community members have since created an online petition calling for the Manalapan High School football field to be named in Mullen’s honor.
Fox News’ Pilar Arias contributed to this report.