NewsCovering Kentucky


Former UK Gymnast Dies From Cancer At Age 25

Posted at 9:43 PM, Apr 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-28 01:03:21-04


LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) – A former University of Kentucky gymnast lost her long battle with cancer on Friday night.

Shelby Hilton reportedly passed away on Friday night in Orlando Florida at the age of 25.

Hilton competed on the Wildcats gymnastics team from 2012-2015.

After a scary fall during a tumbling routine in February of 2015, Hilton was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, a form of pediatric brain cancer that rarely happens in adults.

After many rounds of treatment including radiation and chemotherapy, Hilton’s cancer went into remission and she returned to UK to finish her studies. After graduation she moved back to her hometown in Florida where she worked in sales and resumed life as normal.

However, after 2 and a half years in remission, Hilton learned in May of 2018 that the cancer was back.

UK officials say Hilton died on Friday April 26th, 2019.  While completing her degree in communication at UK, she received the Mike Lyden Courage Award at the 2016 UK Athletics CATSPY Awards.

“Shelby inspired us all with the courage she showed throughout her fight and her strength will remain an example for everyone who had the honor of knowing her,” said Mitch Barnhart, UK Director of Athletics. “The UK family mourns her passing and offers heartfelt condolences to the Hilton family.”

“This is a very sad time for everyone involved with our program and our deepest sympathies are with Shelby’s family and friends,” said UK gymnastics coach Tim Garrison. “Shelby had to give up many things during her fight with cancer, but more important is what she kept.  She kept her courage, her smile, and her determination to live her life.

“She was one of the happiest and most persistent young women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I am so proud of what she was able to accomplish and more impressed with the way she went about it. She was a joy to be around and all those that knew her are better for it.”