The NFL community lost one of its top players of the 2010s on Thursday, as former Broncos star Demaryius Thomas was found dead in his home at the age of 33, according to a Roswell, Georgia, police report obtained by the Washington Post. Police say preliminary information suggests Thomas’ death stemmed from a medical issue.
LaTonya Bonseigneur, a first cousin who grew up with Thomas, told the Associated Press the family believes he died from a seizure.
Family members were reportedly notified by the Roswell police at about 9 p.m. ET 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.”
“The NFL family mourns the tragic loss of Demaryius Thomas and we extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones,” the NFL released in a statement.
We are devastated and completely heartbroken.
Demaryius’ humility, warmth, kindness and infectious smile will always be remembered by those who knew him and loved him. pic.twitter.com/0GLZIr6UP3
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) December 10, 2021
Thomas, who last played in 2019, had only officially announced his retirement this June. He finished his 10-year career as one of the most productive wide receivers of his time, most notably as a five-time Pro Bowler and the No. 1 pass-catcher for Denver’s 2015 Super Bowl championship team.
Drafted 22nd overall by the Broncos out of Georgia Tech in 2010, Thomas spent more than eight seasons in Denver, finishing as one of the franchise’s best receivers — with career numbers that rivaled or surpassed Ring of Fame honoree Rod Smith and Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe. He ranks second among all-time Broncos in career receiving yards and touchdowns, and third in career catches.
Thomas had five straight 1,000-yard seasons from 2012-2016 — four of them with more than 1,300 yards. He ranks 54th among all-time NFL players in terms of career receiving yardage (9,763).
He is perhaps best known for his starring role as Peyton Manning’s top target during the Broncos’ bid for several titles in the 2010s. Thomas hauled in 28 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns during Denver’s 2013 postseason alone, helping the team advance to Super Bowl XLVIII. Two years later, he topped 100 catches for a second straight season while helping the Broncos claim their first Lombardi Trophy in nearly two decades.
Thomas was traded from the Broncos to the Texans in October 2018, during his eighth year in Denver, and played seven games with Houston before signing with the Jets in 2019. The veteran wideout played 11 games in New York during his final season, totaling 36 catches for 433 yards, then announcing his retirement two years later.
Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, who played four seasons with Thomas in Denver, said the wide receiver was a better person than he was a player.
“He treated my kids like they were his own,” he said in a statement released by the Broncos. “He was there for every teammate’s charity event. I texted with D.T. on Tuesday. He was talking about a TD audible we called vs. Arizona in 2014. Absolutely devasted.”