Ronnie Hillman, a former NFL running back who won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos, died at age 31 following a battle with cancer, his family announced Thursday.
Hillman was diagnosed with a rare form of the disease in August.
“Ronnie quietly and peacefully transitioned today in the company of his family and close friends,” the family wrote in an Instagram post.
“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.”
The family had said Wednesday Hillman was under hospice care following unsuccessful treatment for renal medullary carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer most prominently affecting Black males with sickle cell trait, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Hillman spent four of his five NFL seasons with the Broncos. His 863 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns in 2015 led the team, which won Super Bowl 50 that season.
A 2012 third-round pick out of San Diego State, Hillman was also part of the 2013 Broncos team that made Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
He rushed for 1,976 yards and 12 touchdowns in 56 career NFL games, also playing with the Minnesota Vikings and San Diego Chargers. His final game came in 2016.
Former teammates shared their condolences on the family’s Instagram announcement, with Brandon Marshall commenting “fly high bro” and Chris Harris Jr. writing “man rip Ronnie.”
“Fly high my brother,” wrote fellow running back C.J. Anderson. “Rest easy man going to miss you love you my brother we have amazing memories.”