Ronnie Hillman, a former NFL running back who played for the Broncos in their 2015 Super Bowl 50 title squad, passed away on Wednesday, his family confirmed, following a fight with an uncommon kind of cancer. His age was 31.

A message on Hillman’s Instagram account said, “We regret to inform you of the demise of our dear son, brother, and father, Ronnie K. Hillman Jr. With his family and close friends by his side, Ronnie passed away calmly and sweetly today. The family is grateful for the already-expressed prayers and nice remarks. Please allow us some time to absorb our emotions as we get ready to bury our beloved RJ.

The family announced in a statement early on Wednesday that Hillman had went into hospice care this week following a failed course of therapy for a rare form of cancer for which he was diagnosed in August. “A rare but highly aggressive neoplasm form of cancer that primarily affects young African Americans with sickle cell trait” is renal medullary carcinoma, which Hillman had.

In the NFL, Hillman spent five seasons, his first four of which he spent with the Broncos. Hillman, a star at San Diego State University, was chosen by Denver at No. 67 overall in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. His greatest season was in 2015, when he shared the backfield with C.J. Anderson and rushed 863 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season as the Broncos won the title. That season, Hillman recorded four 100-yard running games. His most notable effort came in the regular-season finale, a 27-20 win against the Chargers that helped Denver secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. Hillman also ran for 117 yards and one score.

“We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of former Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman,” the Broncos said in a statement following Hillman’s passing. Ronnie was a vital member of two Super Bowl teams and led the Broncos in running during our Super Bowl 50 title season. He also played a significant role in the winningest four-year stretch in the history of the team. Ronnie, a modest, soft-spoken guy with a pleasant smile and quiet energy, was selected by the Broncos in the 2012 NFL Draft and went on to become a valued teammate and explosive player. Our company will always remember him with fondness and sends the Hillman family its deepest regrets and condolences at this trying time.

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