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UPDATE: No Foul Play in Hilliard's Death

Pepperdine chaplain was found dead Monday morning on a beach near the 26000 block of Pacific Coast Highway.

An autopsy was under way this afternoon on a popular 44-year-old Pepperdine University chaplain who collapsed and died while walking on the beach in Malibu.

Maurice T. Hilliard, who came to Pepperdine in 2001, was the school's athletic chaplain and its director of the Boone Center for the Family. He had been an assistant women's basketball coach at the private Christian college.

"Maurice touched the lives of so many of us at Pepperdine, especially our athletes who looked up to Maurice as a friend, counselor and mentor,'' Andrew Benton, Pepperdine's president, said in a prepared release.

Hilliard's body was found on the beach about 9 a.m. Monday near the 25800 block of Pacific Coast Highway, just east of Corral Canyon Road.

Though the cause of death has not been determined, coroner's spokesman Ed Winter said no foul play was suspected and that Hilliard likely died of "natural causes.''

It was unclear if Hilliard had any chronic health problems.

A Los Angeles native who lived in Malibu, Hilliard graduated from Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of La Verne in 1991 and a master's of divinity from Biola University in La Mirada in 2001.

He also had been Pepperdine's director of operations for the men's basketball team and an academic coordinator. In 2010, he was named program director for the Boone Center for the Family.

In 2010, he published a book called "The Price of a Pearl: The Transforming Power of God in the Lives of Women.''

He was known to take regular walks on the beach.

Women's basketball coach Julie Rousseau called him "a precious gift from God."

"We were blessed to have him touch our lives in such a unique way. Things were different around him. The sun shined a little brighter when he was around.''

 

--City News Service

Brian Merrick March 12, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Could be one of the 4 drowned fishermen from the channel islands this weekend.
Jane Bellomy March 12, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Sadly, Brian, you may be right...and even tho' difficult to hear that news, it would be good for this man's family to know.
Josh Spiegel March 12, 2012 at 11:16 PM
I was out at the islands yesterday and saw the CC heli lapping Santa Cruz. Didn't hear a pon-pon on the radio all day. Its more than 30 miles to pt Dume from Anacapa. Doubt the current/wind could take someone that far in that short period. But then again, it's a big bad ocean, never underestimate what it can do.
Pepperdine March 13, 2012 at 12:05 AM
It was a Pepperdine staff member, not a fisherman.
PR March 13, 2012 at 12:28 AM
His name was Maurice Hilliard. He was 44 years old, worked at Pepperdine University, was like the father I never had, a mentor, a friend, and a son of God who was called home early this morning. My prayers go out to his family and loved ones.
J. Flo March 13, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Oh no, such tragic news for our town and his family! My sympathies to all!
M Stanley March 13, 2012 at 01:36 AM
My own prayers go out to join the entire Pepperdine "family" in the knowledge that it helps to lift Maurice's spirit to his eternal reward and everlasting love. May the Lord's angels comfort his loving family and provide peace during this difficult time.
mary March 13, 2012 at 03:12 AM
My condolences to his family, friends and students of Pepperdine xo
Jane Bellomy March 13, 2012 at 06:37 AM
So sad that the beauty of our ocean holds such tragedy and heartfelt loss - RIP Maurice Hilliard. God go with your loved ones, and your Pepperdine family.
lydia graham March 13, 2012 at 10:24 AM
Maurice will be dearly missed. His encouragement and enthusiastic coaching, such sad news and loss for Pepperdine, family and friends.
Mark Morales March 17, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Peace and comfort await a man who serves the lord. May he rest in peace and marvel at the majesty of our Saviour.
John April 02, 2012 at 06:47 PM
I have not heard any results of the cause of this man's death. Is there any news on this?
Brantley Watson April 03, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Please see this link, John: http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_20170764/autopsy-results-death-pepperdine-chaplain-not-being-released
John April 03, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Thanks Brantley. I am curious if he had a heart attack or what. I guess they are waiting for a toxicology test before making the official cause of death, because I cannot find one anywhere online.

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