DAHRRAN DIEDRICK: Born in Jamaica and raised in Toronto, was first Canadian scholarship recruit to play for Nebraska. PHOTO COURTESY OF FACEBOOK VIA STOCK PHOTO

MONTREAL (AP) – Dahrran Diedrick, the Canadian running back who starred at Nebraska and won three Grey Cup titles in a 10-year Canadian Football League career, died Saturday after fighting cancer. He was 44.

The Montreal Alouettes, the team Diedrick helped win two Grey Cups, confirmed the death through his family. Quarterback Anthony Calvillo, currently the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, was a teammate of Diedrick’s for eight seasons in Montreal.

“I won two championships with Dahrran and he was a very important piece of our team,” Calvillo said in a statement. “He was always in a good mood and got along with everyone in our dressing room. He leaves us far too young.”

Born in Jamaica and raised in Toronto, the 6-foot, 225-pound Diedrick was the first Canadian scholarship recruit to play for Nebraska. In 2001, he started for the Cornhuskers, rushing for a Big 12-leading 1,299 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Diedrick helped Nebraska reach the national championship game at the 2002 Rose Bowl, a 37-14 loss to Miami. He finished his college career with 2,745 yards rushing on 502 carries with 26 touchdowns.

“It’s really sad,” former Nebraska coach Frank Solich said. “Great kid. Huge heart in everything he did. I enjoyed being around him, I enjoyed coaching him and I think the players enjoyed being around him. He was a warrior.

“The perfect I-back to have a fullback in front of you. You could run I formation all day long with that combination. He was a true I-formation tailback. He’d give you everything he had.”

Edmonton selected Diedrick in the third round of the 2002 CFL draft, but he opted to return to school before signing with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent the following year. He also had stints with the Green Bay and Washington, playing his lone NFL game in 2004 with Washington.

He joined Edmonton in 2005, earning his first Grey Cup that year. Diedrick was then acquired by Montreal, where he played from 2006-13, winning Grey Cups in 2009 and ’10. Following a stint with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2013, he returned to the Alouettes for his final season in 2014.

During the 2014 season Diedrick was diagnosed with hepatosplenic gammadelta T-cell lymphoma, a rare but very aggressive form of the disease. He retired at the end of the season and served as strength coach in 2017 with the Toronto Argonauts, earning a fourth Grey Cup ring that season.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends, family, and former coaches and teammates of Dahrran Diedrick during this difficult time,” CFL Commisioner Randy Ambrosie tweeted. “An-other life tragically cut short by cancer.” Diedrick ran for 872 yards on 179 carries over 130 CFL regular-season games with six touchdowns.

“Dahrran was a very good friend of mine in the locker room and we kept in touch after our careers,” said Eric Deslauriers, Montreal’s senior director of football operations. “I remember a very physical player when he had the ball, no one could take it away from him.”