The Collin County Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled that former Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber III died of heatstroke, according to a copy of the autopsy report obtained by USA TODAY Sports on Monday.
His death was ruled an accident.
Barber, 38, was found dead in a Dallas apartment on June 1. According to an incident report released by the Frisco Police Department, officers were called to the scene after another tenant in the apartment complex reported water was leaking from Barber’s unit. Apartment staff were subsequently unable to contact Barber, and the unit was locked from the inside.
According to the autopsy report, one of the bathtub faucets in Barber’s apartment was running when officers arrived, and the unit’s thermostat was set to 91 degrees with the heat set to “on.” Officers also found exercise equipment in the unit.
“Mr. Barber was known to exercise in sauna-like conditions,” the coroner wrote in his report.
Police wrote in the incident report that family members had not heard from Barber for six days prior to the date his body was found. They also noted that Barber “was known to have a history of medical problems and mental health concerns.”
“We are heartbroken by the tragic death of Marion Barber III,” the Cowboys said in a statement on Twitter confirming Barber’s death. “Marion was an old-school, hard-nosed football player who ran with the will to win on every down.”
‘HE MADE US ALL BETTER’:Former Dallas Cowboys coach, teammate remember Marion Barber
Barber spent six of his seven NFL seasons with the Cowboys, rushing for more than 4,000 yards and 47 touchdowns. He went on to spend the with the 2011 season with the Chicago Bears.
A 2005 draft pick out of the University of Minnesota, Barber was known for his physical running style, often breaking tackles and churning his legs to pick up extra yards after contact.
“There were so many plays,” former Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told USA TODAY Sports last month. “I can remember just countless runs where he would keep the play alive. Say it’s a sweep to one side and you get hit and there’s nothing there and you’d be like ‘go down deep, reverse the field.’ Six guys would tackle him, he’d shake them off. It was incredible.
“He always sought out contact. He always delivered the blow. His style of play was infectious.”
Contributing: Jori Epstein
Contact Tom Schad at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.