He Was an NBA First-Round Pick in 2017, Is Now Dead at 25

Caleb Swanigan was chosen by the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round that year
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2022 3:00 AM CDT
He Was an NBA First-Round Pick in 2017, Now Dead at 25
Portland Trail Blazers forward Caleb Swanigan, front right, slaps a rebound away from Atlanta Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter (12) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/John Amis)

Former NBA player Caleb Swanigan died Monday night at a Fort Wayne, Indiana, hospital at age 25. Swanigan, Indiana's Mr. Basketball in 2015, was a standout player for the Purdue Boilermakers when he became a first-round draft pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in 2017, ESPN reports. During his college career, Swanigan was also Big Ten Player of the Year his sophomore year, a consensus first-team All American, and a finalist for the Naismith Award. The 6-foot-9 power forward ultimately played three years in the NBA, both with the Trail Blazers and the Sacramento Kings. After the 2019-20 season, however, what CBS Sports describes as a "battle with weight gain" led Swanigan to exit the league.

He went on to pursue a rap music career, but he also struggled with health problems and was hit with a drug charge last year. He died of natural causes, but the cause has not been announced. "The Purdue basketball family is deeply saddened and devastated at the loss of Caleb Swanigan," Purdue coach Matt Painter said in a statement. "Caleb was a very thoughtful individual and a gentle soul who excelled both on and off the court. He made a huge difference in everyone's lives that he touched and he will be greatly missed." Fox News rounds up the many tributes to Swanigan here. (Read more Portland Trail Blazers stories.)

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