Former NBA player Caleb Swanigan has died of natural causes at the age of 25, ESPN reports. According to the Allen County coroner’s office, he passed away on Monday night (June 20) at a Fort Wayne hospital.
Swanigan was a first-round pick for the Portland Trail Blazers in 2017 and spent three years total in the league with both the Blazers and the Sacramento Kings. Prior to his professional career, Swanigan was a standout player for the Purdue Boilermakers in his home state of Indiana.
“Our thoughts and prayers to Caleb Swanigan’s family and friends,” said the Purdue Men’s Basketball Twitter account. “The world lost a gentle soul last night.”
Despite an original commitment to Michigan State, Swanigan made the decision to stay home to play for the Boilermakers following his title as Indiana’s Mr. Basketball in 2015. He was named the Big Ten Player of the Year during his tenure at Purdue and was also a consensus first-team All-American.
After his sophomore season with Purdue, Swanigan entered the NBA draft and was selected in the first round at No. 26 to join the Trailblazers. After his stint in the league, the Indiana native earned his degree in educational history from Purdue. He recently debuted music and organized a fundraiser to combat homelessness, having experienced it himself as a child.
“This is absolutely devastating,” said former NFL player Trai Essex of the heartbreaking news. “He overcame so much to get to where he got. So much talent and so young. Represented the home town to the fullest! My heart hurts for his family.”
This is absolutely devastating. He overcame so much to get to where he got. So much talent and so young. Represented the home town to the fullest! My heart hurts for his family. https://t.co/x32WGVVbDb
— Trai Essex (@TraiDay79) June 21, 2022
Swanigan’s former Purdue coach wrote that he was “terribly saddened” by the news and that his former player “had a positive influence in everyone’s life.” “Biggie had a positive influence in everyone’s life,” Purdue Coach Matt Painter shared. “Was such a thoughtful person and gentle soul who had to overcome so much in his life. He will be greatly missed.”