Former Butler center Andrew Smith dies of cancer at age 25

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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Former Butler center Andrew Smith, a key player in the Bulldogs’ back-to-back title game appearances, passed away at age 25 on Tuesday after battling cancer for most of the last two years.

Smith was playing professionally in Lithuania when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in February 2014. After it was believed Smith was clear of the disease, he had a relapse this spring and had a bone marrow transplant on Nov. 6.

Smith’s disease became leukemia and he went back into the hospital. His wife Samantha announced his passing today.

A four-year player at Butler from 2009-2013, the 6-foot-11 Smith was a freshman reserve when the Bulldogs lost to Duke in the title game in Indianapolis in 2009. In 2010, Smith was elevated to a starting spot as the Bulldogs lost to UConn in the title game. Over the course of his career, Smith played in 134 games and averaged 8.6 points and 4.5 rebounds, becoming a double-figure scorer his last two years of college.

Butler President James Danko and Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier released a statement on Smith:

“The Butler community is profoundly sad today with the news of Andrew’s passing. We saw the way Andrew fought on the basketball court and we saw the way he fought for his health. In both cases, we saw the best of Andrew Smith. But that’s what we always saw from Andrew. He gave his all, all the time. As an Academic All-American, he represented the best of Butler in the classroom and on the court. Above all else, what made Andrew special was the way that he genuinely cared for others. Within his large frame was an even larger heart. He is, was, and always will be a Bulldog. The Butler community is proud to have been part of his life, and our thoughts are with his wife, Samantha; his parents, Debbie and Curt; and the rest of his family.”

Rest in Peace, Andrew. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and teammates.