University of Washington

Robert Baker, brother of former UW star Budda Baker, dies at the age of 29

Robert Baker, the brother of former Huskies' defensive back Budda Baker, died early Sunday morning after suffering a gunshot wound to the chest.
Robert Baker, the brother of former Huskies' defensive back Budda Baker, died early Sunday morning after suffering a gunshot wound to the chest. AP

Robert Baker, the brother of former Washington Huskies star safety Budda Baker, died after being shot early Sunday morning in Seattle, The News Tribune has learned.

The former UW star defensive back confirmed in a tweet later Sunday morning his brother passed away.

"On behalf of the Baker Family we want to thank everyone for their generous outpouring of love, support, and prayers during this extremely difficult time at the passing of our dearly beloved son, brother and husband, Robert Baker," Budda Baker tweeted. "We ask that you respect our family's privacy in this difficult time."

The incident took place at 1:45 a.m. Sunday, according to the Seattle Police Department report. Officers were dispatched to the 4900 block of Leary Avenue Northwest after receiving a report of a 29-year-old man in the street who was suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest.

Police and fire personnel tried reviving him. Robert Baker was pronounced dead as he was being transported to the hospital, the report said.

Seattle police Det. Mark Jamieson told The News Tribune no other details were available as the incident is still under investigation.

Back in 2016, the brothers were profiled by Sports Illustrated as Budda Baker was on his way to becoming an All-American who helped lead UW to the Pac-12 Championship and an eventual College Football Playoff semifinal appearance.

The brothers exchanged hand-written notes for seven years as Robert Baker was serving a prison sentence for first-degree robbery and possession of a firearm. SI reported Robert Baker would watch UW games with guards and inmates whenever his younger brother was on TV.

Robert Baker told SI he had a gun when he confronted a friend who he claimed owed him money. The incident led to his arrest with Robert Baker also telling the publication the gun was used in other crimes he did not commit.

"I learned life can be taken away from you in two ways: death or prison," Robert Baker was quoted as saying to SI. "I'm lucky it was prison, because death was around the corner."

At the time of the story, Robert Baker was married with a wife and three children.

Budda Baker, who just finished his rookie year with the Arizona Cardinals, was in the Seattle area this weekend. He returned to campus Saturday for UW's spring preview at Husky Stadium where he spent time with former teammates such as John Ross and Shaq Thompson, among others.

Baker was selected in the second round of last year's NFL Draft by the Cardinals. The two-time All-Pac-12 First Team selection was an immediate success in the NFL. Baker ended his first season with 74 tackles and seven pass deflections. He was named to the Pro Bowl.

Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark