February 28, 2024

“I’m always going to think about him. That will never go away.”

Adam Bighill, Craig Roh, August 15, 2019, IG Field

Craig Roh passed away on Monday after an 18-month battle with colon cancer and Adam Bighill — his long-time friend and teammate during their days with both the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and B.C. Lions – is just one of many deeply impacted by the loss.

“The world is going to miss him in so many ways,” said Bighill on Wednesday, not long after Roh’s wife Chelsea posted about her husband’s passing earlier in the week. “There are however many billion people in this world, but Craig not being here now affects so many of us negatively.

“Knowing how strong he was and how strong his faith was I always had it in the back of my mind that he would beat this. I never thought we would be here because I knew he was doing everything possible.

“I think, though, that he probably had found a level of peace through his faith, which must have given a huge amount of solace to him and his family and friends.

“I’m always going to think about him. That will never go away.”

Both the Blue Bombers and Lions released statements on Roh’s passing on Wednesday with Winnipeg president Wade Miller stating: “Craig was a dedicated and caring teammate who gave his everything to the game,” said Blue Bombers President & CEO Wade Miller. “Our thoughts go to Craig’s wife Chelsea, their son Max and to his many friends and family.”

Roh, 33, leaves behind his wife Chelsea and his young son, Max. The Roh family has established a gofundme page to help with the medical costs, with Max’s schooling and Chelsea’s future and that link can be found here.

Roh first came to the Canadian Football League in 2015 with the Lions after an outstanding collegiate career with the University of Michigan and following a tryout as an undrafted free agent with the Carolina Panthers.

Dedicated to his craft and an empathetic teammate, Roh worked tirelessly to establish himself as a force at the defensive end position earning the nickname ‘Death Roh’ – a moniker he joked about when joining the Blue Bombers in free agency.

“My wife Chelsea calls me a huge cornball,” Roh said with a laugh in an interview with upon his signing with Winnipeg in February of 2018. “The ‘Death Roh’ personal is strictly from sacking quaterbacks. My wife jokes, ‘You look intimidating… until you open your mouth and then you remove all doubt.”

Roh would play in 29 games over the 2018-19 seasons with the Blue Bombers, registering 14 sacks – including a career high eight in ’18. He was a member of the 2019 Grey Cup squad, although he was on the one-game injured list for the championship game.

“He didn’t take himself too seriously at all. He was very easy-going, very easy to work with and yet very intentional and purposeful about what he needed to do to be the best,” said Bighill. “Craig loved getting sacks and making plays but at the same time he took great pride in fulfilling his role and if it helped other people on the team be successful, he was all for it. If he wasn’t getting the sacks, but someone else was he was all about it. But make no mistake, his work ethic, his attention to detail – everything he did he did to be the best he could be. That level of dedication was different, and he distinguished himself among all the professionals with that approach and his level of commitment. It was at an elite level.

“He was such a selfless and caring person and was always thinking of other people and making sure others needs were looked after and everything was good. “We had so many deep conversations over the years about life, about business, about football and everything in between and how it all ties together. He was a very thoughtful and intentional person.

“The list goes on and on. I could talk for hours about Craig. This is just really tough.”

A celebration of life will be held in Phoenix, Arizona on March 16th, 2024 with details to be provided by the family at a later date.