Ulrich, a regular at an upscale San Diego, CA restaurant Hug had helped run with his parents, said he has not been able to come to grips with why his friend would end his life.
"This is a heavy day for us here," Ulrich lamented. "With all the wealth and privilege Julien had, I can't imagine why he would take his own life. I can't believe this has happened -- Why oh why would such a beautiful man take his own life?"
"[His parents] Bertrand and Denise must be in shock. My heart goes out to them."
Ulrich said he does not understand why Hug would avoid reaching out to the people who care about him if he was in trouble.
"I heard the kid had some issues and was battling some personal demons," Ulrich explained. "Whatever the case may be, his life was precious."
"He could have gone to his parents or anyone in this tight-knit community and asked for help. Everyone would have bent over backwards to help that man -- I'm just so saddened."
While shocked and in disbelief, Ulrich said observers had sensed Hug was not himself lately.
"People had been noticing a slight change in Julien's attitude in the past few weeks. He looked a bit sad, but nothing to be overly concerned about -- But parents know best and I'm sure his folks knew more," Ulrich said.
According to reports, Hug -- who had recently moved from San Diego to Palm Desert, CA to run a new restaurant the family had purchased -- was found dead in a remote desert area off Highway 74 in Riverside County on Wednesday. However his body was only retrieved by helicopter on Thursday, as the location was unreachable by land-based search parties.
Hug had had dinner with his parents at their San Diego home on Sunday night but failed to make it to work Monday morning, resulting in his family's decision to contact authorities and file a missing personâ€™s report, The San Diego Union-Tribunereported Thursday.
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