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Former Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman dies at 31 after cancer battle

The Denver Broncos have lost an alumni of the Super Bowl 50 championship team.

Denver Broncos vs Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL week 15 Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Late last night on Dec. 21, 2022, the family of Ronnie Hillman announced that he had passed away peacefully after a battle against a rare form of liver cancer. Hillman was just 31.

Hillman battled a rare form of liver cancer that he was diagnosed with in August and had contracted pneumonia. He was placed in hospice care earlier this week. According to CBS Sports, he battled renal medullary carcinoma, which predominantly afflicts patients with sickling of the red blood cells.

The Denver Broncos released a statement on Thursday:

“We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of former Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman. A key contributor to the winningest four-year period in franchise history, Ronnie was part of two Super Bowl teams and led the Broncos in rushing during our Super Bowl 50 championship season. 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. He will be fondly remembered by our organization, which extends its heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the Hillman family during this difficult time.”

Hillman was a key contributor of the Denver Broncos championship run in 2015 and part of a lethal 1-2 punch with fellow running back C.J. Anderson. He was drafted in the third-round of the 2012 NFL Draft and immediately became a factor on offense as a big-play threat.

His best season was his last in Denver as he helped the Broncos to a Super Bowl championship. He had four 100-yard games and finished the season with 863 yards and seven touchdowns. In five seasons in the NFL, Hillman amassed 1,976 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was always part of a committee of running backs, but still found a way to log six 100-yard games in that part-time role.

That Super Bowl 50 championship squad has now lost two of its starters far too early. Just over a year ago, Demaryius Thomas died suddenly at the age of 33. Both will be terribly missed by Broncos Country.