ATLANTA (CBSNewYork/AP) — Demaryius Thomas, who earned five straight Pro Bowl honors and a Super Bowl ring during a prolific receiving career spent mostly with the Denver Broncos, has died at the age of 33.
Thomas was found dead in his suburban Atlanta home Thursday night, said Officer Tim Lupo, public information officer for the police department in Roswell, Georgia.
"Preliminary information is that his death stems from a medical issue, and our investigators currently have no reason to believe otherwise," Lupo said in a statement early Friday.
LaTonya Bonseigneur, a first cousin who grew up with Thomas and was so close they considered themselves siblings, told The Associated Press the family believes he died from a seizure.
Family members were notified by the Roswell police at about 9 p.m. EST that they had found Thomas in a shower at his home.
"He had been suffering from seizures for over a year, and we believe he had a seizure when he was showering," Bonseigneur said early Friday. "We're not sure when he died. We just spoke with him yesterday."
She added, "He was alone and a friend couldn't get hold of him, so he called his driver, who has a key because of these seizures, and he went into his home and found him in the shower."
Thomas last played in the NFL in 2019, appearing in 11 games with 10 starts for the New York Jets. He officially announced his retirement this past June.
"A brilliant career on the field with a light that always shone brighter off of it. Gone way too soon. But your impact remains. Rest In Peace, Demaryius," the Jets said on Twitter.
Thomas will be remembered mostly for his eight-plus seasons with the Broncos.
"We are devastated and completely heartbroken," the team said in a statement. "We were very much looking forward to celebrating Demaryius for years to come as one of the greatest players in franchise history."
His contributions to the community went beyond the playing field, the team said, noting his work with the Broncos Boys and Girls Club, hospital visits, his annual football camp and "many other genuine interactions."
"Demaryius' humility, warmth, kindness and infectious smile will always be remembered by those who knew him and loved him," the statement said. "We have lost an incredible player and a special person in Demaryius Thomas."
While he put up huge numbers after the Broncos signed quarterback Peyton Manning in 2012, Thomas made his best-known catch the previous season, his second year in the league.
On the first play of overtime in an AFC wild-card playoff game, he broke free over the middle and hauled in an 80-yard touchdown from Tim Tebow to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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