Former NFL defensive lineman Brad William Henke, who appeared as an actor in several highly popular TV shows, died unexpectedly earlier this week. He was 56.
Henke reportedly died in his sleep on Tuesday, November 29. No cause of death was given.
Henke was born on April 10, 1966, in Nebraska and later moved to Colorado, where he grew up, Deadline reported. He played college football for the University of Arizona, was drafted into the NFL by the New York Giants in 1989, and played in Super Bowl XXIV with the Denver Broncos. He was forced to retire in 1994 due to injuries.
“Henke was an avid NFL and UFC fan, a happily married family man with a heart of gold who visited his mother frequently, loved taking his stepson to soccer games and gymnastics and adored his dog, Ruby,” agent Sheree Cohen said in a statement.
Henke’s manager, Matt DelPiano, told E! News, “Brad was an incredibly kind man of joyous energy.”
“A very talented actor, he loved being a part of this community… and we loved him back,” he continued. “Our thoughts are with his wife and family.”
Henke started his acting career by doing commercials and later landed roles in “ER,” “Law & Order,” “Chicago Hope,” “Bones,” “Castle,” “The Office,” “Criminal Minds,” “Orange Is The New Black,” “Justified,” “Lost,” and “Dexter.” He also appeared in movies including “Pacific Rim” and “The World Trade Center.”
Henke is survived by his his wife, Sonja; stepson Aaden; stepdaughter Leasa; grandchild Amirahe; mother Tammy; and sister Annette.
Henke said in 2021 that he learned to appreciate that his football injury forced him into a new career as an actor.
“I didn’t know what to do with my life. Luckily, I needed money, so I jumped at being an extra football player in a commercial; they needed football extras in the back of the commercial,” he said at the time. “After that, someone invited me to an acting class, saw what they were doing there, started going to class, and I just loved it.”