Ronnie Hillman, Super Bowl winner, dies after battle with cancer

(CNN) — Ronnie Hillman, Super Bowl winner for the Denver Broncos, passed away Wednesday at the age of 31, according to a post by his family on his Instagram page.

Hillman was diagnosed in August with renal medullary carcinoma, a rare form of cancer, according to a statement posted on his social media this Wednesday.

Ronnie Hillman

Running back Ronnie Hillman won the Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos in 2015. (Credit: George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

His family’s post reads: “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our loving son, brother and father, Ronnie K Hillman Jr.”

“Ronnie transitioned smoothly and peacefully today in the company of his family and close friends,” he adds.

Medullary renal cell carcinoma is a very aggressive cancer that mainly affects people with sickle cell trait (SCT). It was not immediately clear if Hillman himself had SCT.

San Diego State University (SDSU), Hillman’s alma mater, posted a tribute on his football team’s official Twitter.

“Gone too soon,” reads a picture of Hillman.

“We will miss you Ronnie,” the post ends.

On the school’s website, SDSU director of athletics John David Wicker wrote: “We are saddened to hear of the passing of Ronnie Hillman. Ronnie helped resurrect San Diego State football in his two seasons in 2010 and 2011 and has recently been on the show offering wisdom and insight.”

ronnie hillman

Hillman scores a touchdown for the Broncos against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 3, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

SDSU head coach Brady Hoke also penned a tribute, saying, “Our deepest condolences to Ronnie’s family.”

“Although I was only able to coach him for one season, I will remember him as a great teammate and hard worker. Ronnie always came to practice with a smile on his face and his passion for the game was contagious. He will always be an Aztec for life,” he added.

After two stellar seasons at SDSU, where he scored 36 touchdowns, Hillman was drafted by the Broncos in 2012 and helped the team reach the Super Bowl in 2014 and 2015, according to

The team earned the latter victory over the Carolina Panthers after a season in which Hillman was their leading rusher, recording 863 yards and seven touchdowns.

Hillman spent time with the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Chargers in the 2016 NFL season, before signing with the Dallas Cowboys prior to the 2017 season.

He never played for the Cowboys, having been released by the team shortly after signing.

CNN has reached out to the NFL and the Broncos for comment.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *