Kentucky OL coach John Schlarman has been battling cholangiocarcinoma for the last 2 years, coaching through some intense treatments.

Now, tragically, his fight is over, as Kentucky announced that the longtime assistant — who was with the program from 2000-02 and 2013-20 after playing offensive line for the Wildcats from 1994-97 — had passed away at the age of 45.

Kentucky announced the news on Twitter on Thursday morning:

“I’m heartbroken to learn about the passing of my friend, John Schlarman,” Coach Mark Stoops said in a release. “My prayers go out to LeeAnne and the kids, Joseph, Benjamin, Matthew and Evelyn, through this very difficult time.

“John was everything we all strive to be – honest, tough, fair, respected. Kentucky football won’t be the same without him but his legacy will never fade. He was a fighter and we will strive every day to honor his warrior spirit.”

Schlarman was one of the original members of Stoops’ coaching staff. He last coached in a win over Tennessee earlier this year, after which Stoops presented him with the game ball.

He was popular with the players and made a big impact during his time in Lexington. Thoughts and prayers to the Kentucky and Schlarman families during this difficult time.