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Former Texas A&M running back Darren Lewis dies of cancer at 55

Texas A&M all-time leading rusher Darren Lewis has died of cancer, the school announced Friday. He was 55.

The university did not say how it learned of Lewis' death.

A two-time All-American, Lewis also remains the top rusher in Southwest Conference history. He ran for 5,012 yards in four seasons with the Aggies, highlighted by a 1,692-yard season in 1988 and rushing for 1,691 yards in 1990.

In 1988 he was the Southwest Conference Player of the Year and named to his first All-America team. He was the second-leading rusher in the country that season behind Barry Sanders, who ran for 2,628 yards.

Nicknamed “Tank,” Lewis finished tied for eighth in Heisman Trophy voting in 1990 when he broke the Southwest Conference career rushing record previously held by SMU’s Eric Dickerson, who ran for 4,450 yards. That season earned him his second All-America honor.

Lewis was selected in the sixth round of the 1991 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears and played for them for three seasons. His stock fell in the draft after he tested positive for drugs at the league’s combine.

Born in Dallas, Lewis played at local power Carter High School and went on to Texas A&M. He had the top two rushing seasons for the Aggies before Trayveon Williams broke his record, rushing for 1,760 in 2018.

Lewis' 5,012 career rushing yards ranked him fifth on the NCAA’s all-time rushing list at the conclusion of his college career.

He never tested positive after being drafted by the Bears. He played in 33 games with five starts, rushing for 431 yards.

Lewis struggled with a cocaine addiction after football and went through a divorce and the loss of his house. He was sent to prison more than one, the last time in August 2014 when he pleaded guilty to three criminal charges related to armed robberies in the Dallas area and was given a 27-year term in federal prison.

His cancer was diagnosed in prison and he was allowed to leave prison to receive treatment. He recently entered hospice care, according to several published reports.

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The Associated Press