Ronnie Hillman, a former running back with the Denver Broncos, has passed away, reports Yahoo Sports. He was 31.
Hillman's family confirmed his passing in a message posted to his Instagram account.
“Ronnie quietly and peacefully transitioned today in the company of family and close friends," the message said. "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.”
Hill passed away from renal medullary carcinoma, a rare form of kidney cancer that primarily affects people with sickle cell trait (SCT). He was diagnosed with the disease in August and entered hospice care on Tuesday after unsuccessful treatments.
The Broncos also paid tribute to Hillman by releasing an official statement.
"We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of former Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman," the statement read. "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. He will be fondly remembered by our organization, which extends its heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the Hillman family during this difficult time."
Hillman starred at San Diego State for two years, putting up back-to-back 1,500-yard rushing seasons—1,532 yards as a freshman, and 1,711 yards as a sophomore—with 17 and 19 rushing touchdowns.
He entered the 2012 NFL draft and was selected in the third round by the Broncos. In his first two seasons, he played in 24 games where he rushed for 548 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Hillman’s best season was in 2015 when he rushed for a career-high 863 yards and scored a career-high seven rushing touchdowns
Hillman signed a deal with the Minnesota Vikings in 2016 ,and played in five games the following season before he was released in November. He then signed with the San Diego Chargers on waivers and played three games in 2016.
In 2017, he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys but was released before the start of the 2017 season.
His career totals include 1,976 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns; he won a Super Bowl in 2015.
We at EBONY extend our prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Ronnie Hillman.