ROSWELL, Ga. — The sports world and communities from Colorado to Georgia were rocked on Thursday night by the news of the death of Demaryius Thomas, a former Georgia Tech and Denver Broncos star who was just 33 years old.
Thomas, a native of Laurens County in central Georgia who later found stardom in Atlanta with the Yellow Jackets and then the NFL, is being mourned by fans and peers and remembered by teammates as someone who was "one of the most powerful and graceful and smooth athletes I’ve ever been around."
NFL Network's James Jones said "BayBay," as friends and teammates referred to Thomas, was "full of personality" and a "great dude, great teammate, loved his family."
Here's what we know about Thomas' sudden passing:
- Police do not suspect foul play: A family member confirmed to 11Alive's Denver sister station 9NEWS that he had been found dead at his home in Roswell, north of Atlanta. Roswell Police said so far it appears his death "stems from a medical issue, and our investigators currently have no reason to believe otherwise."
- He was just shy of his 34th birthday: Thomas was born in Montrose, Ga. on Christmas Day 1987.
- No cause is yet determined: A cousin, however, told the Associated Press the family believes he died as a result of a seizure and falling in the shower.
- Police found him in the shower: A police report states an officer found him in his home in the shower when they arrived. The report also states officers were called "in reference to a cardiac arrest." Medical authorities have not confirmed a cardiac arrest in fact took place.
- He was involved in a serious car accident in 2019: It happened in February that year, in Denver, and later that year he said he was "still going through stuff" in relation to it. Despite reports that lingering issues from that wreck contributed to his death, no autopsy has yet been performed that would link the wreck to ongoing medical issues.
- Thomas was a Georgia football legend: He starred at West Laurens High School in Dexter, Ga., before going on to Georgia Tech, where he became a program legend. He was also an accomplished high school basketball and track and field athlete.
- He had a celebrated NFL career: Thomas starred for the Broncos for eight seasons, making the Pro Bowl four times and winning a Super Bowl ring in 2015. He holds multiple Broncos records, including receiving touchdowns in a season and receiving yards in a single game.
- He is survived by his mother and grandmother: Both served long prison sentences through Thomas' formative years on drug charges, which were commuted by former President Barack Obama in 2015 and 2016. Thomas celebrated his family's freedom by thanking the former president "for everything he's done for my family, and a lot more families giving them second chances." He told the Broncos website he was "blindsided" and that "The past two years, I got my grandmother and my mother out. And a lot of other people got their family members out that didn't do crazy crimes, so it's a blessing."