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Former NFL Running Back Ronnie Hillman Dies at 31

Photo: Justin Edmonds

Former NFL running back Ronnie Hillman has died at the age of 31, his family confirmed in a statement shared on his Instagram page.

"It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved son, brother & father, Ronnie K Hillman Jr.," the family said. "Ronnie quietly and peacefully transitioned  today in the company of his family and close friends."

Hillman, 31, was diagnosed with renal medullary carcinoma, a "rare but highly aggressive neoplasm form of cancer that primarily affects young African Americans with sickle cell trait" in August, the family had previously confirmed in a statement obtained by TMZ Sports on Tuesday (December 20).

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

Hillman's family added that "more information will be forthcoming."

The former Super Bowl champion had previously undergone treatment that the family said hasn't been successful and was in hospice care prior to his death.

Hillman was selected by the Denver Broncos at No. 67 overall in the third-round of the 2012 NFL Draft following a decorated collegiate career at San Diego State.

The California native recorded a career best 863 yards and seven touchdowns during the Broncos' Super Bowl championship season in 2015.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman," the Broncos said in an official statement on Thursday (December 22). 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."