Hillman was 31 years old.
“We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of former Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman,” the Broncos said. said in a statement“A key contributor to the most winning four years in franchise history, Ronnie was part of two Super Bowl teams and led the Broncos through the championship season of Super Bowl 50. Soft-spoken with a quiet intensity, Ronnie was drafted by the Broncos in 2012 and has grown to be a dynamic player and a respected teammate. It will be fondly remembered by our organization who extend our deepest sympathies and condolences.”
Frank Mazzotta, Hillman’s coach at La Habra High School in California, posted a reminder on Twitter.
Tonight we lost a great Highlander. I have many wonderful memories of you. Your bright smile can brighten up a room. As incredible as you were on the field, you got even better from it. Loved by many, too young. Rest in paradise next to Big Ronnie! pic.twitter.com/3jGAE8ANIK
— Mazzotta LH FB Coach (@LHHighlanders) December 22, 2022
Former Broncos teammate Omar Borden also posted his thoughts on Hillman’s death.
Hillman was drafted out of Denver in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft at the age of 20 after a stellar career at San Diego State University, and spent four of his five NFL seasons with the Broncos. He served as a backup in his first two years, then earned his first starting lineup in 2014 by running for his 100 yards in New York against the Jets.
In 2015, Hillman was the team’s starter again after rushing for 111 yards in Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns. and ended with seven touchdowns. In Super Bowl 50, Hillman only had five carries for 0 yards as the Broncos gave most of their carries to CJ Anderson.
Hillman, who became a free agent after the Super Bowl, re-signed with the Broncos, but was released at the final roster cut just days before the 2016 regular season began. The Vikings signed Hillman early in the season, but he ran for only 50 yards in five games before the Vikings released him. Rushing for 81 yards in the last three games of his NFL career.