Former Butler basketball player Andrew Smith has died of cancer at age 25.
Smith, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January 2014, died in his sleep.
Smith, a native of Zionsville, Ind., played center for Butler from 2009–2013, in which time the team went to consecutive national championship games under Brad Stevens in 2010 and 2011. Smith was a key contributor in those runs, as well as an Academic All-American. He then spent time playing professionally overseas, with his rookie year interrupted by his cancer diagnosis that forced him to return to Indianapolis.
His family announced last week on Twitter that his condition had taken a downturn and that he was nearing death.
“Andrew packed more living into his 25 years than most of us will enjoy in a full 75 years,” Smith’s father Curt wrote in a statement. “He lived his faith, relished his family, selflessly served his wife, and pursued his passion of basketball at the highest levels.”
Samantha Smith had been detailing her husband’s condition in a series of online posts. According to posts on the site, Smith’s cancer had gone into remission but returned in Spring 2015. In December, the disease intensified after a failed bone marrow transplant as the cancer transformed from lymphoma to leukemia.
Stevens, now the head coach of the Boston Celtics, missed a game against the Chicago Bulls last week to visit Smith in the hospital.
To the toughest guy I ever met - Thank you, Andrew. We love you and will always be inspired by you.— Brad Stevens (@BCCoachStevens) January 12, 2016
Butler will wear uniform patches in Smith’s honor for the rest of the season.