Demaryius Thomas, Former NFL Star, Dead at 33

Demaryius Thomas
Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

The former NFL star was found dead in his Roswell, Georgia, home on Thursday evening, police say.

Former NFL star Demaryius Thomas was found dead in his Roswell, Georgia home Thursday evening, police say. He was 33.

"Preliminary information is that his death stems from a medical issue, and our investigators currently have no reason to believe otherwise," police in the Atlanta suburb said in a statement.

Police told family members they found Thomas in a shower at his home, according to The Associated Press.

"He had been suffering from seizures for over a year, and we believe he had a seizure when he was showering," LaTonya Bonseigneur, a first cousin who grew up with Thomas and was so close they considered themselves siblings, told the AP 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."

CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin reports that Thomas, who last played in 2019, had only officially announced his retirement in 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.

The Broncos issued a statement saying they "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."

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, Benjamin said. Thomas 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 career receiving yardage (9,763).

He's 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 title 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 New York Jets in 2019. He played 11 games in New York during his final season, totaling 36 catches for 433 yards, then announced his retirement two years later.

This story was originally published by CBS News on Dec. 10, 2021 at 3:29 a.m. ET.