Former CFL offensive lineman Nick Benjamin passed away last week in Winnipeg following a lengthy battle with kidney disease.

He was 46.

Benjamin played for the Ottawa Rough Riders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 1985 to 1993.

"This is truly a sad time for everyone involved," Blue Bombers president Lyle Bauer said in a statement issued Tuesday.

"[He] was a quality football player and, more importantly, a quality individual who did so much for the people around him."

Benjamin was drafted first overall by Ottawa in 1985 and spent five seasons in the nation's capital before heading west until his retirement as an active player in 1993.

A collegiate standout with the Concordia Stingers, he was voted the CFL's East Division nominee for outstanding rookie in his first pro season with the Rough Riders.

Benjamin later helped the Blue Bombers trounce the Edmonton Eskimos 50-11 in the 1990 Grey Cup at Vancouver.

With files from the Canadian Press