Former Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman has died.
According to NFL.com, the Super Bowl-winning rusher died Wednesday, according to a statement his family posted on Hillman’s Instagram. He was 31 years old.
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Hillman’s family had recently announced that he was in hospice care. According to TMZ, he was diagnosed with renal medullary carcinoma—which Hillman’s family called a “rare but highly aggressive neoplasm form of cancer that primarily affects young African Americans with sickle cell trait”—in August.
The Athletic reported that Hillman played for five seasons in the NFL. He was selected by the Denver Broncos in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft with the 67th pick. In the Broncos’ 2015 Super Bowl-winning season, he ran for 863 yards and scored seven touchdowns and rushed for 100 yards four times. That included the regular-season finale where he ran for 117 yards, and scored one touchdown in the 27-20 victory over the San Diego Chargers that sealed the number-one seed for the Broncos for the AFC playoffs.
Hillman played one more season in the NFL before retiring, suiting up for the Minnesota Vikings and the San Diego Chargers in 2016. He finished his career with 1,976 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.
The Denver Broncos released a statement:
“We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of former Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman. A key contributor during the winningest four-year period in franchise history, Ronnie was part of two Super Bowl teams and led the Broncos in rushing during our Super Bowl 50 championship season. Soft-spoken with a warm smile and quiet intensity, Ronnie was drafted by the Broncos in 2012 and grew into a dynamic player and well-respected teammate. Ronnie will be fondly remembered by our organization, which extends its heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the Hillman family during this difficult time.”