Former NFL running back Marion Barber III died of heatstroke, police in Frisco, Tex., Said Monday.
The 38-year-old was found dead in his Dallas-area apartment June 1, but the cause of death was not disclosed. Barber was unresponsive when police arrived to make a welfare check.
According to local reports, the thermostat in Barber’s apartment was set to 91 degrees when police arrived. The coroner wrote in the autopsy report that Barber was “known to exercise in sauna-like conditions.”
The Collin County medical examiner ruled Barber’s death an accident, Frisco police said.
“There had been so much talk and so many rumors about the cause of death,” Russell Flannigan, a close friend of Barber’s, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “This could have happened to anyone.”
A fourth-round pick out of Minnesota in 2005, Barber amassed 4,780 rushing yards and 53 touchdowns across a seven-year career. He played for the Dallas Cowboys from 2005 to 2010 and ended his career with the Chicago Bears in 2011. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2007.
Barber had several legal issues after his NFL career ended. In 2014, he was reportedly taken to a hospital by police for a mental health evaluation after an incident in Mansfield, Tex. Last year, former teammate Dez Bryant tweeted a message of despair over the way Barber’s life was “going right now” and added that the ex-back was “down and out bad.”
“We are heartbroken by the tragic death of Marion Barber III,” the Cowboys said in a statement in June. 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. ”