Harald Hasselbach, a defensive lineman who played a key role in the Denver Broncos’ consecutive Super Bowl wins in 1998 and 1999, has died at the age of 56 following a battle with cancer. Hasselbach was diagnosed with metastatic mucinous adenocarcinoma, a form of cancer, according to the family’s statement.
The Denver Broncos confirmed Hasselbach’s death on Thursday, as reported by the family. Hasselbach’s family revealed that he died at his home in the Denver area following a six-month struggle with cancer. Hasselbach began his career with the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League. He is one of 10 players to win a Grey Cup and the Super Bowl.
End of a Brief Battle
“We’d like to make it known that he passed from cancer peacefully in the comfort of his home, free of pain,” Hasselbach’s family said in a statement to ESPN. “He’s had an overwhelming amount of support over the last week, including past teammates, coaches and family that’ve flown in from around the world.
“… We learned he had the illness less than 6 months ago and he fought as hard any human possibly could, with incredible strength.”
Hasselbach, a defensive lineman, is part of an exclusive group of just 10 players to win both the NFL and the CFL.
Throughout his time with Denver, Hasselbach demonstrated remarkable durability, never sitting out a game. He played a total of 131 games, including both regular-season and postseason play, from 1994 to 2000. He got 154 tackles, 17 1/2 sacks and four forced fumbles.
Hasselbach started 29 regular-season games and contributed in three playoff games, notably playing a role in the Broncos’ victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl after the 1998 season.
His noteworthy seven-season stint in the NFL followed a four-year career with the Calgary Stampeders, during which he earned recognition as a CFL All-Star.
Tributes Pour In
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Harald Hasselbach (1994-00), a DE on our back-to-back Super Bowl teams who courageously fought a recent cancer diagnosis,” the Broncos said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to Harold’s wife, Aundrea, his four children & many loved ones.”
His ex-Broncos teammate Ed McCaffrey said on X, “Devastated my friend & teammate Harold Hasselbach has left us much too early. A gentle giant of a man who was always so kind to me and my family, especially my kids.
“Praying for his incredible wife Aundrea & their four amazing children, Ashlee, Terran, Aven and Kian. RIP my friend!”
Hasselbach, born in the Netherlands and a Washington University graduate, made the move to the Broncos following a productive four-season stint with the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL. His achievements in the CFL included being named a two-time All-Star and securing the Grey Cup in 1992.