Super Bowl-winning running back Ronnie Hillman died on Wednesday following a battle with liver cancer, his family announced. He was 31 years old.

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved son, brother & father, Ronnie K Hillman Jr, ” Hillman’s family posted on Instagram. “Ronnie quietly and peacefully transitioned today in the company of his family and close friends.”

Hillman entered hospice care earlier this week after he 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,” according to TMZ.

Hillman graduated from San Diego State before he was selected by the Broncos in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He spent the first four seasons of his career in Denver, where he ran for 1,845 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Ronnie Hillman played four seasons with the Denver Broncos.
Ronnie Hillman, seen celebrating after defeating the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game, went on to win the Super Bowl with Denver.

He last played in the NFL during the 2016 season, where he appeared in six games with the Vikings and Chargers.

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

Ronnie Hillman was 31 years old.

Tributes poured in from Hillman’s former teammates and celebrities alike on social media Thursday morning.

“Fly High my brother rest easy man going to miss you love you, my brother, we have amazing memories,” said former Broncos teammate CJ Anderson.

“Man rip Ronnie,” former Broncos star Chris Harris Jr wrote.

“Fly high bro,” Former Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall said under the post.

In the entertainment world, Snoop Dogg gave praise to Hillman’s character saying “Heaven gained an angel today. Thank you for being an example to the youth in my league and around the world.”

Actress Morgan Hardman shared a post of several photos of her and Hillman with the caption “Tonight, we gained an angel. Ronnie, I love you with everything in me. My life will never be the same without you. rest in heavenly peace Best Friend.”

Hillman’s family said more information is to come.