Former Carolina Panthers cornerback Rashard Anderson, who was the team’s first-round pick during the 2000 NFL Draft, has died at the age of 45, according

Anderson’s death was announced by Jackson State University, where he played from ‘96 to ‘99, on Thursday. A cause of death was not immediately revealed.

“Today is a sad day for the JSU family,” said Jackson State vice president and director of athletics Ashley Robinson. “Rashard was one of the best players in the history of our football program and an outstanding person. He attended our spring football game in April and was excited about the program returning to championship status. Rashard will always be remembered by Jackson State University, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”

Following his strong college career, Anderson was selected No. 23 overall in the 2000 NFL Draft. His NFL career only lasted two seasons, after he was suspended in 2002 for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The suspension was extended for another season after he failed to meet the NFL’s requirements. He was later reinstated, and released by the team.

Across his career, Anderson played 27 games with the Panthers. He never signed with another NFL team, but he did have a very brief stint with the Calagary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League. As the Jackson State-run publication GO JSU Tigers pointed out, he’s also a JSU Sports Hall of Fame inductee.

"The Jackson State University community mourns the loss of alumnus Rashard Anderson, one of our talented former student athletes who made an indelible mark on the gridiron and throughout his professional career in the NFL," said JSU President Thomas K. Hudson, J.D. "He will forever be remembered for his charismatic personality and his winning attitude. Our condolences to the Anderson family and friends."