Former Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman, who won Super Bowl 50 in 2016, has died of cancer, his family announced Thursday. He was 31 years old.
Former teammates like Derek Wolfe and Orlando Franklin had expressed in recent days how dire Hillman’s condition was, saying he had been placed in hospice care. Franklin took to social media to ask “please pray for Ronnie Hillman…it’s not fair, please God, please.”
Wolfe said Hillman had liver cancer and also contracted pneumonia.
“We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of former Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman,” the Broncos said in a statement. “Ronnie played a key role in the winningest four-year run in franchise history. He was on two Super Bowl teams and led the Broncos in running game in the Super Bowl 50 title-winning season. Soft-spoken, with a warm smile and quiet intensity, Ronnie was drafted by the Broncos in 2012 and has become a dynamic player and highly respected teammate. Our organization will remember him fondly and sends its sincere condolences to the Hillman family at this difficult time. »
Hillman was a Broncos third-round pick in 2012. He joined the Broncos after Peyton Manning joined the team. He rushed for 218 yards in 2013, as the Broncos set a league record for single-season runs with 606. Two years later, he led the Broncos’ championship rushing yardage with 863. ground and 7 touchdowns during the regular season. That season, Hillman also caught a career-high 24 assists.
He played five games for the Minnesota Vikings and three games for the San Diego Chargers in 2016, his last year in which he appeared in regular season games.