Update: Marion Barber III died of heat stroke after apparently exercising in "sauna-like conditions" in his apartment in Frisco, Texas. The Collin County medical examiner ruled the former NFL star's death an accident, police said Monday, per the AP. He hadn't been seen for three weeks before he was found in the shower of the apartment's master bedroom following reports of a water leak, per TMZ, which notes a bathtub faucet in a guest bedroom was running. There was no evidence of trauma, drug use, or natural disease. But the thermostat was set to 91 degrees and the heat was on, per TMZ. Investigators, who described exercise equipment at the scene, said Barber had a history of working out in extreme heat. Our original story from June 2 follows:
Former NFL running back Marion Barber III, a 2007 Pro Bowler who racked up an impressive 47 rushing touchdowns with the Dallas Cowboys, has been found dead. The body of the 38-year-old was discovered Wednesday in an apartment he was thought to be leasing in Frisco, Texas, NPR reports. Police officers had arrived for a welfare check after a person called about water leaking from the apartment, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. A rep says police are investigating "an unattended death at the location." A cause of death has not been released.
In a statement, the Cowboys said it was "heartbroken by the tragic death" of "an old-school, hard-nosed football player who ran with the will to win every down." The son of former New York Jets running back Marion Barber Jr. and brother of former Houston Texans defensive back Dom Barber played six of his seven NFL seasons with the Cowboys, per the Washington Post. He made the 2007 Pro Bowl with 975 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, despite never starting a game. After a final season with the Chicago Bears, he retired in 2011 with 4,780 rushing yards and 53 rushing touchdowns.
He seemed to struggle afterward. Last summer, former teammate Dez Bryant tweeted that Barber was "down and out bad." In 2014, Barber was detained by police in Mansfield and taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation. According to TMZ, he appeared disoriented after exposing a loaded gun in a church. In 2019, he was arrested for allegedly damaging cars while running in Frisco. He pleaded no contest in April and was sentenced to 12 months of probation, 60 hours of community service, and up to $2,000 in fines, per the Star-Telegram. He would have turned 39 on June 10. (Read more NFL stories.)