Life and Laughter of Tyler Anthony Hein

Stillwater, Minnesota, a picturesque town where the sun casts a golden hue over the St. Croix River and memories echo through the valley, is home to the legacy of Tyler Anthony Hein. Born on December 29, 1996, Tyler’s life, though tragically brief, was a testament to the boundless spirit of human potential.

Young man, sitting on ledge with Los Angeles in background.
Tyler Anthony Hein 1996-2020

Tyler excelled and showcased many talents at Stillwater Area High School. From fifth grade through graduation, his fingers danced on the upright bass, mesmerizing audiences and earning him a revered spot in the concert orchestra. This musical prowess led him to SoundCloud, where he collaborated with friends, producing music that still reverberates in the hearts of many.

Beyond the realm of music, Tyler’s athletic abilities shone brightly. A three-sport athlete, he embodied dedication and discipline. But his dreams soared even higher, leading him to the esteemed United States Marine Corps ranks. By October 2015, he had achieved the honor of becoming a U.S. Marine, as a Crash Fire Rescue specialist, and later as a certified EMT.

Tyler’s soul found solace in the embrace of nature. An avid outdoorsman, he cherished moments of duck, deer, and bear hunting, often accompanied by his father and friends. Fishing trips became cherished memories, where the tranquility of nature met heartfelt conversations.

Tyler Anthony Hein on the St. Croix River, July 15, 2020

Yet, beneath this adventurous exterior was a young man deeply introspective. His journals, a window into his soul, revealed a yogi’s heart. He yearned for authenticity in a world often masked in pretense. “He was such a down-to-earth, say-it-like-it-is kind of guy,” a sentiment echoed by many who knew him.

However, life wasn’t without its challenges for Tyler. Addiction, a formidable adversary, cast a shadow over his radiant spirit. Despite the love and support that surrounded him, Tyler often grappled with feelings of inadequacy. His mother, Michele, poignantly recalls, “He was probably the most loved person on the planet… he just couldn’t feel that love.”

On July 18, 2020, this internal battle reached its tragic climax when Tyler succumbed to fentanyl poisoning. The void left by his departure is immeasurable, but his legacy remains undiminished.

In the wake of this profound loss, Tyler’s parents, Jerry and Michele, transformed their grief into a beacon of hope. Through rallies, advocacy, and sheer determination, they’ve championed the cause, ensuring Tyler’s legacy becomes a catalyst for change. Along with Paul Ostrow, they founded the nonprofit Fentanyl Free Communities Foundation, aiming to educate youth and shield other families from the anguish of losing a loved one to fentanyl.

Tyler’s impact transcended his personal struggles. Friends often recount tales of his unwavering support, crediting him for guiding them through their darkest hours. As a friend poignantly remarked, “Tyler didn’t have a Tyler. There’s nobody like Tyler.” This sentiment underscores the irreplaceable role he played in so many lives.

As Michele Hein reminisces, she paints a vivid picture of Tyler—the funniest guy in the room, the talented musician, the dedicated Marine, and the loving son. “He was one of the people in my life who made me laugh the hardest” she fondly recalls.

Tyler’s dreams were many—he aspired to be a certified yoga instructor, yearned to buy his first home, and was committed to prioritizing his sobriety. While some of these dreams remained unfulfilled, his spirit continues to inspire and guide those left behind.

In downtown Stillwater, in Lowell Park, you can find a memorial bench placed there by Tyler’s family where one can go to sit and reflect in this beloved spot of his. Amidst the gentle hum of nature and the echoes of memories, Tyler Anthony Hein’s legacy shines brightly—a testament to a life filled with dreams, love, and resilience.

The Fentanyl Free Communities Foundation honors the memory of those lost to fentanyl poisoning by sharing their stories, with permission from their families, as part of our educational efforts. We are committed to raising awareness and positively impacting the fight against fentanyl poisoning.

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