Former NFL running back Ronnie Hillman has died. He was 31.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved son, brother & father, Ronnie K Hillman Jr.” his family posted on Instagram Thursday.
“Ronnie quietly and peacefully transitioned today in the company of his family and close friends,” they added. “We as the family, appreciate the prayers and kind words that have already been expressed. We ask that you would give us time to process our feelings as we prepare to lay our precious RJ to rest.”
Hillman’s loved ones also said more information will be “forthcoming,” and closed their message by writing, “With love, The Family”
The Denver Broncos, Hillman’s Super Bowl-winning team in 2015, released their own statement, also on Thursday.
“We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of former Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman. 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,” they said.
“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 Denver team’s 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.”
On Wednesday, multiple reports stated that Hillman had entered hospice care with a rare form of kidney cancer.
His family also revealed in a statement that the former NFL star had been diagnosed with renal medullary carcinoma in August.
#BroncosCountry please pray for Ronnie Hillman he’s in hospice and not doing well.— Orlando Franklin (@OFranklin74) December 20, 2022
Speaking to Denver’s 104.3 The Fan, Wolfe said that the former athlete also had pneumonia.
“He’s got bad liver cancer and he’s in hospice now,” Wolfe said. “It’s not looking good. He has pneumonia and I’m putting it out there just to send positive vibes his way.”
“Great football player, great person, great teammate, just an all around great dude,” Wolfe added.
“That’s awful news,” former teammate Brandon Stokley told The Fan. “He had a slow start but really picked it up and contributed a lot during the Super Bowl year.”