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Former NFL player, 'Orange is the New Black' actor Brad William Henke dies at 56

brad william henke.jpg
Posted at 2:49 PM, Dec 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-02 15:49:58-05

Former NFL player turned actor Brad William Henke passed away on Tuesday, his manager confirmed to several news outlets. He was 56.

Matt DelPiano confirmed on social media that Henke died peacefully in his sleep but did not give what caused his passing, The New York Times and CNN reported.

“Brad Henke was an incredibly kind man of joyous energy. A very talented actor, he loved being a part of this community….and we loved him back,” DelPiano said in a statement posted to social media, TMZ and The Los Angeles Times reported. “Our thoughts are with his wife and family.”

Best known for his breakout role as Desi Piscatella in the Netflix series "Orange is the New Black," Henke played in the NFL before moving from the gridiron to TV and the silver screen.

The defensive lineman was drafted by the New York Giants in 1989, eventually joining the Denver Broncos, who appeared in Super Bowl XXIV against the San Francisco 49ers, CNN reported.

He retired from the league in 1994 due to injuries.

Henke began his acting career two years later when he appeared in the film “Mr. Wrong” alongside Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Pullman and Joan Cusack, The Times reported.

He also had roles in movies and television shows, including “Space Jam,” “ER,” and "Lost," TMZ and The Times reported.