DENVER (AP) — Running back Ronnie Hillman, who was part of the Denver Broncos team that won Super Bowl 50, has died, his family said in a statement. He was 31 years old.
Hillman’s family posted on their Instagram account on Wednesday that he was diagnosed in August with a rare form of kidney cancer called renal medullary carcinoma and is in hospice care. The family wrote hours later that he died surrounded by family and close friends.
The Broncos expressed their condolences on social media Thursday morning.
After a stellar career at San Diego State, Hillman was picked by the Broncos in the third round of the 2012 draft. He rushed for 1,976 yards and 12 touchdowns during his 56-game career, which included stints with the Vikings. Minnesota and the Chargers while in San Diego.
Hillman led the Broncos in rushing with 863 yards during the 2015 regular season. It was a season that culminated with the Broncos defeating Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium. of Santa Clara, California. Hillman had five carries for no yards in the game.
In their statement, the Broncos described Hillman as “soft-spoken with a warm smile and quiet intensity.” They added that he “has become a dynamic player and a highly respected teammate”.
Hillman rushed for 3,243 yards and 36 touchdowns in two seasons at San Diego State.
“Our deepest condolences go out to Ronnie’s family. Even though I was only able to coach him for one season, I will remember him as a great teammate and hard worker,” he said. San Diego State Coach Brady Hoke said in a statement, “Ronnie always came to practice with a smile on that face and his passion for the game was infectious. He will always be an Aztec for life.
Athletic Director John David Wicker added, “Ronnie helped resurrect San Diego State football during his two seasons in 2010 and 2011 and has recently been a part of the program offering wisdom and insight.”
Hillman’s family explained in their initial post that his form of cancer affects “young African Americans with sickle cell trait. Unfortunately, the treatment was not successful.
Hours later, the family posted that he “transitioned quietly and peacefully today in the company of his family and close friends.”
Stay up to date on all the latest news from Boston.com