For most of his senior playing career he was hooker for the Bridgend Ravens but also played for the Barbarians, Swansea, South Wales Police, Bridgend Sports and Merthyr rugby clubs.
Colin Hillman was part of rugby history when he played for the Wales Youth team which defeated South Africa Youth 30-25 at the Newlands ground, Cape Town on May 31, 1980 in a curtain raiser match before the British and Irish Lions played the Springboks. Two of his team-mates that day were future internationals Bleddyn Bowen and Ray Giles and the game remains the only Welsh international win against a South African international team on South African soil
After his playing days he turned to coaching significantly at Nantymoel rugby club and became Director of Rugby at the Bridgend Ravens while featuring on the international stage as the Wales 7's coach.
He remained Director of Rugby at Bridgend and was still a WRU Technical Advisor to the Wales 7's team at the time of his death.
Away from rugby he worked as a South Wales Police officer and served for a significant part of his career as a South Wales Police Armed Response Officer.
He presented the jerseys to the Wales squad which then headed for Dubai and won the Rugby World Cup for the first time earlier this year.
His reputation around the world of rugby was emphasised when he was asked to help develop 7's rugby for the Spanish international team.
The WRU Head of Rugby Performance and Development, Joe Lydon, said: "Colin Hillman was passionate about Welsh rugby and I had the utmost respect for him as a person and as a coach.
"I first got to know him in 2002 when he coached the Wales 7's team and I was coaching England.
"Over the years we became good friends and he will be sadly missed by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him. I am also aware that he was extremely highly regarded as a player of great talent and determination.
"He did a tremendous amount of work on behalf of 7's rugby in Wales and that commitment continued even after his illness was diagnosed. Colin played a major role in helping prepare the 7s squad for the tournament where they won the World Cup and that was a great tribute to his skill and determination.
"I offer my sincere condolences to his family and his friends."
The Director of Bridgend Ravens, David Rees, said: "I knew Colin throughout his life and will remember him as an extremely loyal friend and a wonderful colleague who will be sadly missed by anyone who met him.
"He was highly respected across the rugby world and in all the time I have known him I have never heard anyone speak ill of him. He was that popular a man."
Former international referee Nigel Whitehouse, who is a South Wales Police Inspector and worked alongside Colin in both rugby and for the police force for over 20 years said:
"From the outset of his career Colin was one of the true good guys in rugby, a consummate professional both on and off the field. He had a distinguished playing career at club level and was unlucky not to get capped, one of those players who as a referee you have the utmost respect for and who was a pleasure to referee.
"You couldn't wish to meet a nicer man and he brought the same attitude to life off the pitch as well. I worked alongside him in the police service for over 20 years and he is not just a great loss to Welsh rugby, but to the South Wales Police service as well.
"In rugby terms he was respected world-wide for the contribution he made to coaching on the 7s circuit, he was meticulous in his planning and has nurtured so many youngsters through that system into the players they are today.
"He was one of the true great rugby men with a genuine love and zest for the sport throughout his career and he will be sadly missed by the rugby world in Wales and around the globe."
Colin Hillman is survived by his wife, Janine and two sons Ben and Matthew.
Colin's funeral service will be held at the Coychurch Crematorium, near Bridgend, on Friday 10 July, 2009, at 2.45pm.