Former UFC lightweight Corey Hill is currently "fighting for his life" in a Florida hospital after suffering complications from a bout of pneumonia.
Reports from various outlets early Thursday indicated that Hill, a former cast member of The Ultimate Fighter 5, had passed away at the age of 36. The UFC subsequently posted a statement on its website mourning the fighter's passing, however Hill's wife, Lauren, released a statement to TMZ late Thursday afternoon clarifying that Hill was "resting and still alive."
"My husband is fighting for his life," Lauren Hill said. "We want him in everyone's prayers."
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a nurse at Tampa General Hospital told MMAFighting.com Thursday afternoon that any reports of Hill's death were "false" and the family of the ex-UFC fighter was requesting privacy at this difficult time.
Hill (6-9) rose to prominence in 2007 as a contestant on the first lightweight season of The Ultimate Fighter. A lanky 6-foot-4 wrestler who boasted an accomplished high school career, Hill fell short on the show but bounced back to win his first official Octagon appearance, defeating Joe Veres via second-round knockout at UFC Fight Night 12.
After losing to Justin Buchholz in his sophomore effort, Hill's UFC career was cut tragically short when the fighter suffered a grisly broken leg in the second round of a Dec. 2008 bout against Dale Hartt -- the same injury that would five years later befall former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
"That eerie memory of me laying on the canvas -- I really didn't know how bad it was until I looked up at the jumboscreen," Hill told MMAFighting.com last year. "You see your own foot twisting away. It doesn't make sense. That's when the reality of the pain really started.
"It's horrible. It's always what people don't see. I could tell you my side, but I'm sure my wife, she'll tell you a different side. The nights that you stay up crying, partly because of the injury, but mostly because it's your pain. ... Literally, it was like, the UFC show, season five, the limelight, the next big thing, Corey Hill at lightweight, and then it was gone. It was all gone. Two weeks after the injury people were sending their condolences, but out of sight, out of mind. It was like I disappeared, this dark shadow, watching everybody else's careers advance from season five."
Hill abstained from competition for nearly 13 months following the injury, before returning to defeat Jason Trzewieczynski via unanimous decision on the regional scene. He's since moved up to welterweight and collected a 3-7 record, most recently including a TKO loss to Jose Caceres this past February.
MMAFighting.com will continue to update this situation as it develops.