Former NBA Player and Purdue Star Caleb Swanigan Dead at 25: 'A Gentle Soul'

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Caleb Swanigan
Caleb Swanigan

Sam Forencich/NBAE/Getty Caleb Swanigan

Caleb Swanigan, a former Purdue University basketball star who played three seasons in the NBA, died on Monday at age 25, PEOPLE confirms.

Purdue Men's Basketball team first announced Swanigan's passing in a tweet on Tuesday morning.

"Our thoughts and prayers to Caleb Swanigan's family and friends," the team said in a statement. "The world lost a gentle soul last night."

Allen County Coroner's Office in Indiana told PEOPLE Swanigan died of "natural causes," and his death "will be signed off by a physician."

The Portland Trail Blazers drafted Swanigan in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft. The team paid tribute to him on Tuesday with a post on social media.

"We are heartbroken by the passing of former Trail Blazers player Caleb Swanigan," the team said in a tweet. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Caleb's family, friends and all who loved him."

RELATED: Purdue's Caleb Swanigan Overcame Obesity and Homelessness to Reach the Top of His Game

Caleb Swanigan
Caleb Swanigan

Abbie Parr/Getty Caleb Swanigan

"Rest In Peace, Biggie," they added.

After the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Swanigan opted out of playing with the team in July 2020, citing "personal reasons," according to NBC Sports. He did not appear in an NBA game again following the decision.

In May 2021, he pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana charges after being pulled over in Indiana with 3.4 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle, PEOPLE previously reported.

RELATED: Damian Lillard Slams Fans Commenting on Photo of Former Teammate Caleb Swanigan: 'Be Supportive'

An Indiana judge ordered Swanigan to serve a 180-day suspended jail sentence.

As a child, Swanigan experienced homelessness and obesity, he told ESPN in 2017. He weighed 400 pounds in middle school before AAU coach and former NFL linebacker Roosevelt Barnes adopted him at 13.

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Barnes educated Swanigan on nutrition and health, helping him get to 260 pounds. In 2015, Swanigan helped his high school basketball team win a state title.

The Big Ten Network will air three of Swanigan's most memorable games with his Purdue team on Tuesday night, beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET.