NBA Player and Former Portland Trail Blazer Caleb Swanigan Has Died at Age 25

Leila Kozma - Author
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Jun. 22 2022, Published 9:14 a.m. ET

The 25-year-old pro basketball player Caleb Swanigan, who played for teams like the Purdue Boilermakers, the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Sacramento Kings, has died.

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The Indianapolis-born NBA player, who started to attract attention immediately after joining Purdue Boilermakers in the 2015-2016 season, broke numerous records throughout his tragically short career. Caleb died on Monday, June 20, 2022, a statement by the NBA confirms. What's Caleb's cause of death?

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What was Caleb Swanigan's cause of death?

Caleb "Biggie" Swanigan was named Indiana Mr. Basketball, Big Ten Player of the Year, and the winner of the Pete Newell Award — all during the two years he spent with Purdue Boilermakers.

In July 2017, Caleb was drafted 26th overall in the first round by the Portland Trail Blazers, and there was no looking back. In 2019, he was traded to Sacramento Kings.

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Caleb Swanigan died of natural causes Monday, June 20, 2022, Allen County Coroner's Office in Fort Wayne, Ind. has confirmed to People. Further details about his death are not yet available. It's understood that Caleb spent his last hours at a hospital in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Why did Caleb Swanigan leave the NBA?

Caleb opted out of the 2020 NBA Bubble because of personal reasons. He last played for the Portland Trail Blazers before the coronavirus pandemic. According to rumors, Caleb was dealing with personal difficulties during his absence from basketball — which he did not elaborate on in interviews with the media.

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Caleb received a 180-day suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to marijuana possession in May 2021. He also became a subject of weight gain-related speculation after attending a court hearing in Whitley County, Ind.

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Caleb Swanigan had an unsteady upbringing.

As Caleb told ESPN, he attended around nine elementary schools and four middle schools while his mom, Tanya, worked hard to keep a roof over her kids' heads. But moving around wasn't the only trouble they had to face. The family would seek refuge in homeless shelters if there were no better alternatives. As Caleb suggested in the interview, spending time at the shelters as a child was psychologically demanding.

"You really don't know how to process it," Caleb said. "You really don't know how to react to it, because it's just the first time it's happening. I didn't have anyone's energy to feed off but my mom's. The few times I maybe did catch glimpses, I really didn't grasp what was going on until I got older."

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Caleb told the outlet that his first experiences with a secure living situation came about when Roosevelt Barnes, a former NFL player and sports agent, adopted him. Caleb moved to Fort Wayne, Ind.

As a child, he struggled with obesity. But Roosevelt encouraged him to pour more energy into practicing basketball. Caleb originally had his sights on Michigan State University before turning his years at Purdue Boilermakers into unparalleled success.

Our thoughts are with Caleb's loved ones at this time.

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