The family of Demaryius Thomas believes the wide receiver, who was found dead Thursday night in his Atlanta home, died from a seizure.
According to a report from The Associated Press, LaTonya Bonseigneur, Thomas’ first cousin who was close enough to Thomas to consider one another siblings, said Thomas had been suffering from seizures for more than a year, and they believe he might have had one while he was showering.
“We’re not sure when he died. We just spoke with him yesterday,” Bonseigneur said, per the report. “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.”
In the AP report, police said preliminary information found that Thomas, who was 33, died from a medical issue, and there was no reason to believe otherwise. Thomas would have been 34 on Christmas.
According to KOA Colorado reporter Benjamin Albright, the seizures are believed to be a complication from a car crash in 2019.
I wanted to be sensitive about how DT passed away is he passed away, as family members and friends had not yet been notified.
But it seems some of that info is out there now, DT passed away due to a seizure. Suspected to be a medical complication from his car wreck in 2019.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) December 10, 2021
Thomas spent 10 years in the NFL, nine of which were with the Broncos, with a brief seven-game stint with the Texans and another season with the Jets. Thomas caught 724 passes with 9,763 receiving yards and 63 touchdowns in his career.
While with the Broncos, he won a Super Bowl playing alongside Peyton Manning and had four straight seasons with at least 1,300 receiving yards. With Manning and Thomas, the Broncos first reached the Super Bowl following the 2013 season, losing to the Seahawks, before winning Super Bowl 50 against the Panthers two years later.
When Thomas was 11, police arrested his mother, Katina Smith, and grandmother, Minnie Pearl Thomas, on drug charges. Smith was sentenced to 20 years in prison and Minnie Pearl Thomas was sentenced for life. Thomas lived with his uncle, James Brown, after Smith went to prison. Brown died on Nov. 15, and Thomas attended his funeral, according to the AP.
President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of both women as part of an initiative to reduce the sentences of non-violent drug offenders. Smith was freed on July 13, 2015, and Minnie Pearl Thomas was freed on Aug. 2, 2016. Smith was able to see Thomas win Super Bowl 50 in February 2016.
“Demaryius was a great guy,” Bonseigneur told the AP. “He came from humble beginnings. He knew God. He was raised in the church and by a close-knit family. Even though he rose to stardom, to us he was just a kid from Montrose. We never fathomed he would go on to do all these amazing things. He was just a kid who loved playing football.”
This is a developing story. Sporting News will provide official updates as they become available (Last updated: Dec. 10, 10:19 a.m ET).