Zachary Winston remembered by friends as a charismatic leader

The Winston brothers Cassius, Zachary and Khy pose for a photo before the Michigan State/Albion exhibition game on October, 29th 2019
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East Lansing, MI (WILX) -- People remember Zachary Winston as a charismatic leader that could light up any room he was in.

Zach, warmly called Zsmoothie by close friends, was a rising basketball star and Albion College student athlete.

On Sunday, Albion Chief of Public Safety Scott Kipp confirmed that Zachary Winston died Saturday night when he intentionally stepped onto the tracks in front of the oncoming Amtrak.

Zach is survived by his brothers MSU basketball player Cassius Winston and Albion freshman Khy Winston, and their parents, Reg and Wendi Winston of Detroit.

Zach was a sophomore studying finance in the Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management.

A statement addressed to the Albion College community from Albion College President Mauri Ditzler said, "As a community, our hearts are broken today as we share the news of the passing of one of our students, Zachary Winston. Zach was a finance major, a student in the Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management, and member of the Albion College men’s basketball team. Beyond that, he was an extremely charismatic young man with an infectious smile.

Zach was a recognized leader who was well known across every facet of our campus, He was a fantastic student with a world of potential before him. He was deeply loved and will be deeply missed.

As a campus, we have provided opportunities for students, faculty and staff to receive counseling and support in the challenging days ahead. We want all students to know they are not alone.

Our hearts go out to his brothers, Khy, who is a freshman at Albion, and Cassius, who is a senior at Michigan State University, his parents and his extended family. We echo the family’s request in asking everyone to respect their privacy at this time."

Ditzler said they plan to offer grief counseling and will be sharing details later Sunday.

MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo released a statement on behalf of the team that said, "Our hearts are filled with sorrow for the Winston family.

Their pain over the student loss of Zachary is unimaginable.

It's impossible to find the right words in this moment, other than to say that will support the family in whatever way they need."

MSU basketball will play Binghamton Bearcats at the Breslin Center Sunday at 7 p.m. At this time it's unclear if Cassius Winston will be playing in the game.

MSU athletes who were friends of Zach expressed their condolences and grief on twitter.

University of Michigan basketball player Brandon Johns Jr. said Zach was one of the goofiest, and most positive, person he knew.

MSU assistant basketball coach Dane Fife tweeted this morning.

MSU running back Elijah Collins and University of Detroit Jesuit High alumni tweeted.

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