Brad William Henke, who was once a University of Arizona defensive lineman and Denver Broncos player, died at the age of 56 last Monday.
The former NFL player reportedly died peacefully in his sleep, though his cause of death was not revealed to the public. His death comes over a year after he announced health struggles in 2021. Taking to Instagram, he announced that he was “happy to be alive” after surviving a 90% blockage in his artery. The retired football player also discussed having tumor in his pancreas, but said he was “recovered and feeling better.”
Sheree Cohen, a member of the retired football player-turned-actor’s management team, went on to confirm the actor’s death in a statement to Fox News. “Brad was such a wonderful, kind person who had a true passion for acting,” she said. “Our thoughts are with his wife and family at this time.”
Remembering the incredible life and legacy of Brad William Henke
Henke was raised in Littleton, Colorado and went on to attend the University of Arizona, where he joined the school’s football team. During his time in college, he served as the football team captain and played as a defensive lineman. After studying an All-Academic student journalist, he went on to be drafted into the NFL by the New York Giants in 1989.
Although he was cut by the team in the midst of training camp, Henke was singed on by the Denver Broncos. The lineman was present at Super Bowl XXIV against the San Francisco 49ers, but his football career came to an end in 1994 due to injuries.
However, Henke never let his departure from the NFL hinder him from accomplishing his dreams. He initially had a dream of coaching football, but quickly found himself in Hollywood, in search of acting jobs. It did not take long for him to adapt to his new career and found himself earning roles in highly-acclaimed movies such as Space Jam (1996), Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), and Must Love Dogs (2005).
In addition to films, Henke was a successful actor in various TV shows such as Chicago Hope, Nash Bridges, ER, Dexter, Lost, Criminal Minds, Shameless, The Office, Castle and MacGyver. He even earned a Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance in relation to his role as corrections officer Desi Piscatella on OITNB.
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