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Ex-Purdue star, NBA player Caleb Swanigan dies at 25

Ex-Purdue star, NBA player Caleb Swanigan dies at 25
Former Sacramento Kings forward-center Caleb Swanigan (C), who died Monday, was an All-American at Purdue and a first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Photo by Divyakant Solanki/EPA-EFE

June 21 (UPI) -- Former Purdue basketball star and NBA player Caleb Swanigan has died, the Allen County (Ind.) Coroner's Office said Tuesday. He was 25.

Allen County Coroner Rebecca Maze said Swanigan died of natural causes Monday at a local hospital. Purdue announced Swanigan's death on social media. The men's basketball account tweeted that the school is "devastated."

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"Our thoughts and prayers to Caleb Swanigan's family and friends," BoilerBall tweeted. "The world lost a gentle soul last night. Love you 'Biggie.'"

Swanigan grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind., and Salt Lake City, and experienced homelessness as a child. He went on to attend Fort Wayne's Homestead High School and starred at Purdue from 2015 to 2017.

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The consensus All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year averaged 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game in his final season with the Boilermakers and was the No. 26 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

"Terribly saddened by this," Purdue coach Matt Painter tweeted Tuesday. "'Biggie' had a positive influence in everyone's life. He was such a thoughtful person and gentle soul who had to overcome so much in his life.

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"He will be greatly missed."

Swanigan set the single-season school record at Purdue with 436 rebounds in 2016-17. He spent his NBA rookie campaign with the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers traded Swanigan to the Sacramento Kings in 2019. The Kings traded the power forward/center back to the Blazers in 2020.

Swanigan made 75 appearances over five NBA seasons. Swanigan went on to record songs as a music artist, under the name Slyy5jackk.

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