Sports

Federal Way alumnus, football star Bronzell Miller dies at 42

Federal Way High School alumnus and football pro Bronzell Miller lost his battle with an aggressive form of cancer Saturday morning. He was 42.  - Contributed
Federal Way High School alumnus and football pro Bronzell Miller lost his battle with an aggressive form of cancer Saturday morning. He was 42.
— image credit: Contributed

One of the best athletes to ever grace the halls at Federal Way High School lost his battle with an aggressive form of cancer Saturday morning. Bronzell Miller, who graduated from Federal Way in 1990, died at his ex-wife’s house in Utah. He was 42.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer of the plasma cells, in 2010.

After chemotherapy, radiation, bone marrow and stem-cell transplants, he was told by a doctor in Wisconsin last month that he needed end-of-life hospice care.

His first wife, Marnie Oliver, took him in and looked after him for the past two weeks at her Utah home.

Originally from Federal Way, Miller played defensive end for the University of Utah football team from 1993-94. In 1994, he had 12 sacks and five forced fumbles as Utah finished the season 10-2 and ranked No. 8 in the Coaches Poll.

While in Utah the last couple of weeks, Miller was visited by a host of family, friends, fans and old teammates, and he even took a trip to the University of Utah’s new football facility to meet with his former defensive line coach, Kyle Whittingham, who is the current Utah head coach.

Earlier last week, after taking steroid medication, his appetite rebounded and he had a surge in energy, Oliver told the Salt Lake Tribune. But then he became extremely tired. Around 11 a.m. Dec. 20, Miller went into a coma and died at 4:30 a.m. the next day. Miller was father to nine children and one stepson.

Oliver and Miller established a trust to help cover his end-of-life expenses, including burial, at www.youcaring.com (type Bronzell Miller in the “search” column).

A family member is providing flowers, and Oliver asked that those willing to help consider donating to the fund instead. He did not have any life insurance. As of Monday, $12,345 has been raised.

Miller didnF’t even play football his senior year at Federal Way, but went on to Eastern Arizona Junior College and played defensive end at the two-year school. He then received a scholarship to play at the University of Utah.

Miller played for the Utes in 1993 and 1994, where he received several honors and played in the prestigious East-West Shrine Game and the Freedom Bowl after his senior season.

Miller was drafted in the 1995 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams as a linebacker in the seventh round. During the season, he left the Rams to join the Jacksonville Jaguars. He played in a grand total of three NFL games during his career.

Following his time with the Rams and Jaguars, Miller joined the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League, where he led his team to the Grey Cup Championship in 1998 as a defensive end. He also played for the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe in 1997 and the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League in 2001.

Miller retired from professional football in 2001, after a series of back and ankle injuries.

But football wasn’t the only thing Miller was known for. Miller also worked as an actor, appearing in feature films, including “Bringing Down the House,” “Mr. 3000,” “Slow,” “The Luck of the Irish,” as well as several other movies, television shows and commercials. He also worked as a print model for the YMCA of Greater New York and performed voice work for the Milwaukee Radio Group.

Miller was a great lover of country music and told The Salt Lake Tribune shortly before he died that Canadian musician Scotty Hills agreed to perform songs Miller wrote on an upcoming album.

 

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