MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- Central Michigan Athletics announced Monday that running back Derrick Nash has passed away.

"This is a very difficult loss for our football program and entire Chippewa Athletic Program," CMU Director of Athletics Dave Heeke said. "Derrick was an inspiration to us all and the fight he showed will never be forgotten. The incredible courage he exhibited in never allowing this terrible disease to dampen his positive outlook on life, is a tremendous representation of the type of man he was. Our thoughts and prayers are with Derrick's family and friends during this difficult time."

Nash signed with CMU in February 2013, but he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in May as he neared the end of his senior year of high school.

After undergoing chemotherapy treatment in the summer and fall of 2013, Nash joined CMU in January of 2014 and took part in spring practice. He played in the Chippewas' annual Maroon and Gold Spring Game at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. Nash was on schedule to claim a spot on the active roster for the 2014 season when doctors discovered the leukemia had returned. He returned to serve as CMU's honorary captain for the 2014 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl.

"Derrick fought a great fight and he will never be forgotten," CMU head coach John Bonamego said. "I know everyone can learn a lot from the way he lived his life and the passion and enthusiasm he showed even during the tough times. We will do whatever we need to do to help his family get through this difficult time.

"I never got to coach Derrick on the football field, but I am proud to have been his coach the last few months. He is one of the toughest young men I have ever known and the determination and resolve he showed is how we will always remember him."