CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Former Carolina Panthers head coach and current Washington head coach Ron Rivera is officially cancer free, his daughter announced Thursday.
Courtney Rivera tweeted the news expressing appreciation to an outpouring of thoughts and prayers the family received throughout the day.
“Thank you all for the love and prayers just got off the phone with mom and dad leaving the hospital @RiverboatRonHC is officially cancer free!!!,” Courtney Rivera tweeted.
Ron Rivera himself tweeted a feel-good photo Thursday night, saying “Thank you everyone for your prayers, letters, texts & notes of encouragement & support. It truly made a difference in my treatment & recovery.”
In Oct. 2020, Rivera walked down the hallways of Inova hospital in Northern Virginia after completing his last cancer treatment.
Nurses and doctors cheered as he was leaving the hospital.
The football coach, nicknamed “Riverboat Ron,” rang the “Victory Bell” after finishing his treatment.
Rivera’s wife Stephanie Rivera shared the good news on social media.
“Very emotional moment for @RiverboatRonHC,” Stephanie Rivera tweeted. “Hope others battling cancer can also look forward to ringing their bell when they complete treatment #RiverStrong #roadtorecovery #thankyouInova.”
The news of his initial cancer diagnosis was first reported in Aug. 2020 by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Rivera told Schefter that he was diagnosed with lymph node cancer. Schefter followed up to specify that Rivera has Squamous cell cancer of his neck and was diagnosed with it two weeks ago.
WBTV reached out to Rivera shortly after the news broke of the diagnosis and asked if there’s anything he wanted to share with our viewers.
“Tell everyone that with God’s grace, we got this,” Rivera said.
The Washington Football Team tweeted a statement, and coach Rivera retweeted it with a comment of appreciation.
“Stephanie, Christopher, Courtney and I thank you ALL for your love and support,” Rivera tweeted.
The 58-year-old NFL coach says the cancer was in the early stages and was considered “very treatable and curable,” according to Schefter. Rivera said he was going to continue coaching the team while receiving treatment for cancer.
“Rivera wants to pass along his gratitude to team doctors, trainers and health-care specialists for helping him through treatments. He also wants to thank the Snyders, the entire Washington organization, his assistant coaches, players, fans, friends and family for love and support,” Schefter tweeted.
Rivera was hired by Washington in Jan. 2020 after being fired by the Panthers. He was the head coach of the Carolina Panthers for nine seasons.
He was named the fourth head coach in Panthers history in 2011, and earned a 76-63-1 regular season record and a 3-4 postseason mark. In nine seasons, Rivera guided the team to a Super Bowl appearance, an NFC Championship and three NFC South titles.
The Carolina Panthers official Twitter account tweeted support for coach Rivera. Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson also tweeted his support.
“Praying for Coach Ron & the Rivera family...sending y’all love, know Ron gonna beat this,” Thompson tweeted.
Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey spoke about coach Rivera during a media availability.
“When you think about Coach Rivera, the first thing I think about is toughness. He’s going to handle it like a champ and I know it. The whole Carolinas have his back,” McCaffrey said, according to Bill Voth, Assistant Director of digital media and broadcasting for the Panthers.
Before the regular season matchup between Carolina and Washington, Panthers players wore “Rivera Strong” shirts to show their support after Rivera battled cancer.