The Purdue community is mourning the sudden passing of former star basketball player Caleb Swanigan, who died at the age of 25 in Fort Wayne.
“The Purdue basketball family is deeply saddened and devastated at the loss of Caleb Swanigan,” said head coach Matt Painter in a statement.
“Caleb was a very thoughtful individual and a gentle soul who excelled both on and off the court. He made a huge difference in everyone’s lives that he touched and he will be greatly missed.”
Swanigan played at Purdue for two seasons before declaring for the NBA draft where he was chosen by the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round. He played 75 games for the Blazers and Sacramento Kings between the 2017-18 and 2019-20 seasons.
“No one ever worked harder in college basketball than Caleb Swanigan. He was known as a gentle soul,” says Alan Karpick, publisher of GoldandBlack.com. “You don’t get that many guys in the history of basketball of the Big Ten that have that many 20-20 games. In other words, 20 points, 20 rebounds. Caleb did that four times I believe at Purdue.”
During his collegiate career, the forward was the 2017 Big Ten Player of the Year, the fourth in Purdue history to earn the honor. He was also a first-team consensus All-American in 2017.
According to Purdue, Swanigan also earned Academic All-American honors.
He graduated from the university in just three years while completing his degree during his rookie season in Portland.
“Our thoughts and prayers to Caleb Swanigan’s family and friends. The world lost a gentle soul last night,” read a tweet from the Purdue men’s basketball official Twitter account.
Former teammate Vincent Edwards also reacted to Swanigan’s untimely death, sharing a series of photos with the caption, “This one hurt different.”
A more current addition to the Purdue basketball family, Jaden Ivey, who is expected to be a top ten pick in the NBA draft on Thursday, said, “Prayers up man, this one hurts the Purdue Family..RIP.“
Purdue says Swanigan worked extensively with Portland-area youth and FoodCorps during his NBA career to promote healthy eating habits in schools and eliminate child hunger.
The Allen County Coroner’s Office confirmed to our news gathering partner in Fort Wayne that Swanigan died of natural causes.