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NBA mourns the death of Caleb Swanigan

The former Purdue star, who was a first-round pick for the Blazers in 2017, passed away due to natural causes on Monday.

Portland Trail Blazers forward Caleb Swanigan (50) drives on New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins (0) in a 2017 NBA game at Moda Center.
Jaime ValdezUSA TODAY Sports

The NBA is mourning the death of Caleb Swanigan, who passed away due to natural causes at the age of 25 on Monday night. The news was reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, who cited Swanigan’s college, Purdue, as the source.

The power forward was a star player for the Boilermakers and was taken by Portland in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft, spending a year and a half in Oregon before moving to Sacramento. Swanigan spent some time in the G League while at the Blazers, with the Canton Charge and the Texas Legends, and was again assigned to the same division with Stockton when he traded to the Kings.

Swanigan elected to skip 2020 NBA Bubble

After trading back to the Blazers, Swanigan elected not to play in the 2020 NBA Bubble for personal reasons and his career never recovered post-pandemic. In total, he played 75 NBA games in three seasons.

The last time that Swanigan made headlines was when he was arrested in his native Indiana for marijuana possession in 2021, for which he accepted a sentence of 180 days’ community service and enrolment on an addiction treatment course.

Swanigan grew up one of six children and spent some of his youth in homeless shelters in Utah and Indianapolis as his mother struggled to raise the family in the absence of his father, who had addiction problems. However, Swanigan excelled on the court at Purdue after overcoming childhood weight issues, and eventually made it to the NBA, which he described as a “dream come true.”