Super Bowl winner Ronnie Hillman dies aged 31 after cancer battle
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Super Bowl winner Ronnie Hillman has died at the age of 31, just months after being diagnosed with cancer.
Hillman, who was part of the Denver Broncos team that won Super Bowl 50, was diagnosed with renal medullary carcinoma - a form a kidney cancer - in August this year.
After treatment proved unsuccessful, he entered hospice care earlier this month.
His family have confirmed he has now sadly passed away, saying in a statement that he transitioned ‘peacefully’ today (Thursday 22 December).
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved son, brother & father, Ronnie K Hillman Jr.
“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. We ask
that you would give us time to process our feelings as we prepare to lay our precious RJ to rest.”
Yesterday, the family announced that Hillman was being ‘kept comfortable and out of pain’ by hospice care, explaining how renal medullary carcinoma (RMC) is a ‘rare but highly aggressive neoplasm form of cancer that primarily affects young African Americans with sickle cell trait’.
“As a family, we hope beyond hope, and we have faith that can move mountains,” they said.
“We also understand that God's will is not always ours; therefore, we as a family subject ourselves to the will of our Almighty God. We need your prayers, but we also need your understanding and respect for Ronnie and our family's privacy at this time.”
Tributes have already come pouring in for the running back, who also played for the Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers, and Dallas Cowboys during his career.
The Broncos said in a statement: "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.
“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."
Athletic director John David Wicker added: “Ronnie helped resurrect San Diego State football in his two seasons in 2010 and 2011 and has recently been around the program offering wisdom and insight.”
The NFL also honoured Hillman in a post on social media, saying it was 'deeply saddened’ by the news.
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