How did Caleb Swanigan die? Former NBA and Purdue star dead at 25
Former Purdue basketball star Caleb Swanigan, who was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2017 NBA Draft, has died at the age of 25. His death was confirmed on his Twitter account. The tweet read, “Devastated. Our thoughts and prayers to Caleb Swanigan’s family and friends. The world lost a gentle soul last night. Love you, Biggie.” Swanigan died from 'natural causes', the Allen County Coroner's Office revealed to local news channel WANE 15.
After leading Homestead High School to its sole state championship in 2015, Swanigan, who was homeless as a child, went on to earn Indiana's coveted Mr Basketball award. From there, he played for the Purdue Boilermakers at Purdue University, where he set a school record by winning the Big Ten Freshman of the Week award three times. The Blazers ultimately selected him with the 26th overall pick in the first round of the 2017 Draft.
Swanigan also became well-known after leaving the NBA for his continued health issues and a 2021 drug accusation. However, Swanigan was upfront about his difficult upbringing. According to a 2017 ESPN report, his father was a crack cocaine user and Swanigan occasionally stayed in homeless shelters and alternated between Indiana and Utah, the state where his mother resided. Prior to Caleb starting at Purdue, Carl Swanigan, Caleb's father, passed away in 2014 from diabetes-related reasons. Swanigan's road to Purdue was paved when Fort Wayne basketball coach and former Purdue standout Roosevelt Barnes took him in and served as his guardian. Swanigan soon became one of the greatest high school players in the nation.
💔 Devastated.— Purdue Mens Basketball (@BoilerBall) June 21, 2022
Our thoughts and prayers to Caleb Swanigan’s family and friends. The world lost a gentle soul last night.
Love you Biggie. pic.twitter.com/spU2hQtJdi
Swanigan played in the NBA for three seasons but hadn't since 2019. He eventually graduated from Purdue with a degree in Educational History; most recently he released some songs and coordinated a fundraising campaign to fight homelessness.
Former teammates and other professional athletes took to their to social media to express their grief. Swanigan's Purdue teammate Vincent Edwards tweeted pictures of their time together with the Boilermakers.
Former NFL player Trai Essex wrote on Twitter, “This is absolutely devastating. He overcame so much to get to where he got. So much talent and so young. Represented the hometown to the fullest! My heart hurts for his family.” Purdue’s head coach Matt Painter wrote that he was “terribly saddened by this. Biggie had a positive influence on everyone’s life. Was such a thoughtful person and gentle soul who had to overcome so much in his life. He will be greatly missed.”
This is absolutely devastating. He overcame so much to get to where he got. So much talent and so young. Represented the home town to the fullest! My heart hurts for his family. https://t.co/x32WGVVbDb— Trai Essex (@TraiDay79) June 21, 2022
Terribly saddened by this. Biggie had a positive influence in everyone’s life. Was such a thoughtful person and gentle soul who had to overcome so much in his life.— Purdue’s Matt Painter (@CoachPainter) June 21, 2022
He will be greatly missed. https://t.co/Ivm5MiaCUm