Ronnie Hillman, former Broncos RB, dies of cancer at 31, family says


Ronnie Hillman, the former Denver running back and a key contributor on the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 championship team, died Wednesday night in Atlanta at the age of 31, his family said in a statement on social media.

Hillman in August was diagnosed with renal medullary carcinoma, his family said. The cancer is, “a rare but highly aggressive neoplasm form of cancer that primarily affects young African Americans with sickle cell trait,” the family wrote.

Hillman died “quietly and peacefully,” the family said.

“We as the family appreciate the prayers and kind words that have already been expressed,” the family wrote. “We ask that you would give us time to process our feelings as we prepare to lay our precious RJ to rest.”

Hillman, a Compton, California native, rushed for 3,243 yards and 36 touchdowns over two seasons at San Diego State University before the Broncos drafted him in the third round (No. 67 overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft. After totaling 982 yards and five touchdowns over his first three professional seasons, Hillman blossomed in 2015 as Denver put together a run to the Super Bowl. That year, he rushed for 863 yards and seven touchdowns in the regular season and played in all three of the Broncos’ postseason games, including their 24-10 Super Bowl victory over the Carolina Panthers.

In early October 2015, he broke out with a 72-yard touchdown run against the Minnesota Vikings, at the time the fourth-longest touchdown run in franchise history. Not long after, he captured the starting job and started the final 10 games of the season.


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