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Harald Hasselbach, Broncos Super Bowl champion, dies at 56

Denver Broncos pass rusher Harald Hasselbach sacks Philadelphia quarterback Bobby Hoying in a 41-16 win over the Eagles on Oct. 4, 1998 in Denver. File Photo by Alex Jennings/UPI
Denver Broncos pass rusher Harald Hasselbach sacks Philadelphia quarterback Bobby Hoying in a 41-16 win over the Eagles on Oct. 4, 1998 in Denver. File Photo by Alex Jennings/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Super Bowl champion defensive lineman Harald Hasselbach has died at 56 after battling cancer.

Hasselbach played seven seasons with the Denver Broncos, winning back-to-back championships in 1997 and 1998. He had been diagnosed with metastatic mucinous adenocarcinoma less than six months ago, according to his family.

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"We'd like to make it known that he passed from cancer peacefully in the comfort of his home, free of pain," his family said in a statement. "He's had an overwhelming amount of support over the last week, including past teammates, coaches and family that've flown in from around the world."

Mucinous adenocarcinoma is a type of colorectal cancer.

Hasselbach was born on Sept. 22, 1967 in Amsterdam. He attended college at the University of Washington before being drafted into the Canadian Football League by the Calgary Stampeders in the fifth round of the 1989 draft.

During four seasons with the Stampeders, Hasselbach was named a CFL All-Star and won a Grey Cup. Only 10 players have won a Grey Cup and a Super Bowl.

Hasselbach signed with the Broncos in 1994. He played 121 games for Denver, tallying 17.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and 119 solo tackles. He retired after the 2000 season.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Harald Hasselbach (1994-00), a DE on our back-to-back Super Bowl teams who courageously fought a recent cancer diagnosis," the Broncos said in a statement. "Our hearts go out to Harold's wife, Aundrea, his four children & many loved ones."

Hasselbach was inducted into the B.C. Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

"Devastated my friend & teammate Harold Hasselbach has left us much too early. A gentle giant of a man who was always so kind to me and my family, especially my kids," tweeted Ed McCaffrey, Hasselbach's longtime teammate and father to 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey. "Praying for his incredible wife Aundrea & their four amazing children, Ashlee, Terran, Aven and Kian. RIP my friend!"

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