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Former Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears running back Marion Barber III died on June 1, 2022 of heat stroke. The medical examiner and police ruled Barber’s death as accidental on Monday, July 11.
In a statement, police in the Dallas suburb of Frisco said the Collin County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Barber had died of a heat stroke. A police spokesman provided no further elaboration on the circumstances of the 38-year-old’s death, and the medical examiner’s office did not immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press.
Early estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that heat deaths jumped 56% between 2018 and 2021. Heat was a contributing factor in 1,577 U.S. deaths in 2021, according to provisional data.
According to TMZ Sports, officials said the thermostat in his apartment was set at 91 degrees and the heat was set to “on” when police found Barber. Investigators noted that Barber had a history of working out in “sauna-like conditions.” Barber’s friend and attorney Billy Clark, had previously told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth that Barber had been training to be a boxer and was in excellent shape.
NFL Marion Barber III’s tragic death highlights danger of heat stroke
Barber was found dead on June 1 after police were called to make a welfare check at a Frisco apartment that he was believed to be leasing. A welfare check ( aka wellness check) occurs when the police respond to a requested area to check on the safety or well-being of a person. Requests for welfare checks are made by friends, family, and neighbors, typically after someone unexpectedly stops answering their phone.
Barber was a fourth round draft pick from the University of Minnesota in 2005. He was picked by the Dallas Cowboys and would spend six seasons with the team. During the 2007 season, he would achieve career-high 975 yards rushing and 10 TDs, becoming a pro bowler.
Barber would only spend one season with the Chicago Bears in 2011. “Marion the Barbarian” rushed for 4,780 yards and 53 touchdowns throughout his NFL career.