Former Dallas Cowboys player Marion Barber III died of an accidental heat stroke, the Collin County medical examiner’s officer said this week.
Barber, 38, was found unresponsive in his Frisco, Texas, apartment on June 1, after police were called to make a welfare check.
“We are heartbroken by the tragic death of Marion Barber III,” the Cowboys said in a statement following the loss. “Marion was an old-school, hard-nosed football player who ran with the will to win every down. He had a passion for the game and love for his coaches and teammates. Our hearts go out to Marion’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Some had speculated that the NFL star suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, commonly known as CTE. The late player’s father Marion Barber II publicly said that his son did not want his brain donated for CTE research.
Before his death, Barber was reportedly hospitalized for mental health concerns on two occasions.
“He wasn’t doing too well … he looked bad … like a different person, like he couldn’t function,” former Cowboys teammate Terence Newman said about his last interaction with Barber, which happened about three years ago, according to Sports Illustrated. “When I tell you I was scared, I thought he might swing on me.”
The NFL has lost a string of players this year, including Baltimore Ravens 26-year-old linebacker Jaylon Ferguson, who also passed in June.
According to an autopsy report, Ferguson overdosed on cocaine and fentanyl.
“We are profoundly saddened by the tragic passing of Jaylon Ferguson,” the team’s Twitter account announced. “He was a kind, respectful young man with a big smile and infectious personality.
“We express our heartfelt condolences to Jaylon’s family and friends as we mourn a life lost much too soon,” the statement added.
The 26-year-old was reportedly battling depression around the time of his death; his grandmother had recently died and there was a fire at his home in Owings Mills, the friend who found Ferguson’s body told police.
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