Tragically, West Virginia’s Deniz Kilicli shaves his trademark beard

In perhaps the most devastating news of the offseason so far, the most famous facial hair in college basketball has met an untimely demise.

West Virginia senior Deniz Kilicli tweeted a photo of himself clean-shaven on Wednesday morning, explaining only that he "got tired of the beard." The Turkish big man later added that it was the summer heat in Morgantown that caused him to adopt a new look.

The disappearance of Kilicli's beard is noteworthy because it had all but spawned a cottage industry in West Virginia.

"Fear the Beard" t-shirts with Kilicli's image began popping up at Mountaineers games, as did a Twitter account and several Facebook groups dedicated to Kilicli's facial hair. The beard had such an Appalachian flavor to it that Kilicli probably could have spent a day as West Virginia's mascot without anyone noticing.

Reaction to Kilicli's freshly shaven new look appears to be split based on a sampling of Twitter.

West Virginia fan Olivia Haught wrote, "@deniz_monty shaved the beard... & looks completely adorable!" Countered West Virginia resident Duncan King, "The Mayans are right. The world is ending."

For those disappointed Kilicli's beard is gone, fear not. He promises it will return in time for the start of the season.