Ronnie Hillman, a former running back for the Denver Broncos who played on two Super Bowl teams, including the team that won Super Bowl 50 for the Broncos, has passed away after a battle with cancer, his family said on Thursday. He was 31.
Ronnie Hillman’s family announced on his Instagram account on Wednesday that he had been given the diagnosis with renal medullary carcinoma, a rare form of kidney cancer, and was receiving hospice care. Later, the family revealed on social media that he passed away surrounded by loved ones.
Former teammates like Derek Wolfe and Orlando Franklin have recently acknowledged how seriously ill Hillman was. Please pray for Ronnie Hillman, Franklin pleaded on social media. “This ain’t fair, please god, please,” he wrote.
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The former Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman passed away unexpectedly, the team confirmed in a statement. “Ronnie was an integral member of two Super Bowl teams and led the Broncos in the running during our Super Bowl 50 victory season. He also played a significant role in the winningest four-year stretch in franchise history.
Since being selected by the Broncos in the 2012 draught, Ronnie has developed into a dynamic player and well-liked teammate. He is soft-spoken with a friendly grin and quiet intensity. Our organization, which sends the Ronnie Hillman family its deepest sympathies and condolences during this difficult time, will remember him with affection.”
One of the youngest players selected in recent years, Ronnie Hillman, was chosen by the Broncos in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. When the Broncos decided on him, he was only 20 years old, and it wasn’t until September of his rookie season that he turned 21.
He was one of two 20-year-olds taken by the Broncos in that draught class, the other being quarterback Brock Osweiler.
With 1,532 yards as a freshman and 1,711 yards as a sophomore, respectively, Ronnie Hillman finished his two seasons at San Diego State with back-to-back 1,500-yard rushing seasons and 17 and 19 rushing touchdowns. On the school’s all-time rushing tally, he is ranked fifth.
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After signing Peyton Manning, the Broncos added Ronnie Hillman to their first draught class. When the Broncos broke the league’s single-season scoring record in 2013 with 606 points, he carried for 218 yards in limited action. Two years later, he led the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 squad in running (863 yards) and touchdowns (seven) during the regular season.
In that season, Ronnie Hillman also recorded a career-high 24 receptions.
In 2016, his final regular-season year, he appeared in five games for the Minnesota Vikings and three for the Los Angeles Chargers.
Ronnie Hillman’s Achievements And Career Timeline
Hillman, a native of Compton, California, rushed for 3,243 yards and 36 touchdowns in just two seasons at San Diego State University before being chosen by the Denver Broncos in the third round (No. 67 overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft.
After racking up 982 yards and five scores in his first three seasons, Ronnie Hillman flourished in 2015 and helped Denver win the Super Bowl. On February 7, 2016, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50.
He participated in all three Broncos postseason games, including the Super Bowl, and carried for 863 yards and seven touchdowns that season.
He ran for a 72-yard touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in early October 2015, which was, at the time, the fourth-longest in team history. Soon after, he earned the starting job and started the final 10 games of the season.
After spending the previous four seasons with the Broncos, he played for the Vikings, San Diego Chargers, and Dallas Cowboys in 2016. Hillman had a productive NFL career, finishing with 1,976 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns.
Last year, Ronnie Hillman became a member of the San Diego State Athletics Hall of Fame class.