Former Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman passed away Wednesday, according to a statement from his family. He was 31.
Hillman was diagnosed with renal medullary carcinoma, a rare form of kidney cancer, back in August, CNN reported.
Hillman’s former Broncos teammates, Derek Wolfe and Orlando Franklin, who both now work as hosts on 104.3 The Fan, said on air this week that while in hospice care, Hillman also came down with a serious case of pneumonia.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved son, brother & father, Ronnie K Hillman Jr.,” the family said. “Ronnie quietly and peacefully transitioned today in the company of his family and close friends.”
“We as the family, appreciate the prayers and kind words that have already been expressed,” the family added. “We ask that you would give us time to process our feelings as we prepare to lay our precious RJ to rest. More information will be forthcoming. With love, The Family.”
Hillman was drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Broncos.
His best season came in 2015 when he ran for 863 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in the Super Bowl that season.
“We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of former Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman,” the Broncos said in a statement. “A key contributor to 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,” the statement continued. “He will be fondly remembered by our organization, which extends its heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the Hillman family during this difficult time.”
A bright soul gone far too soon.
We extend our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the Hillman family during this difficult time.
Remembering Ronnie Hillman: pic.twitter.com/3NGi5WJvZP
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) December 22, 2022
The Broncos’ current quarterback, Russell Wilson, who was not with the team when Hillman played for Denver, released a statement on Hillman’s death.
“So sad to hear about Ronnie. 2012 Draft class. Gone too soon,” Wilson said. “Praying for the entire Hillman family, friends, and and teammates. May you Rest In Peace in Heaven.”
Ryan Harris, who played alongside Hillman in Denver, wrote: “Super Bowl Champion Ronnie Hillman was one of the toughest, hardest working, and hilarious teammates I had the honor to play alongside. Rest in Peace King.”
The National Football League also put out a statement, saying, “We are deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Super Bowl champion RB, Ronnie Hillman. He was 31. “