Ex-Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas died at his home aged 33 from 'complications of a seizure disorder' and not from degenerative brain disease CTE

  • Demaryius Thomas was suffering from the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) when he died at his home in December at 33
  • The former Broncos star collapsed and died in his shower last year
  • Thomas suffered from memory loss, paranoia and isolation in his final years
  • Autopsy has found he died¬†from 'complications of a seizure disorder'

Former Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas died from 'complications of a seizure disorder,' according to the Fulton County medical examiner's office in Atlanta.

Thomas was found dead in the shower of his Roswell, Georgia, home on December 9. He was 33 years old. Shortly after his death, the Thomas family issued a statement that he had suffered from recurring seizures since a car crash in 2019, and they believed he died after enduring a seizure.

Last month, researchers at Boston University confirmed that Thomas suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, but stated his death was likely not caused by it.


The autopsy report confirmed these suspicions, stating the CTE did not cause the seizure disorder or his death.

The autopsy also indicated trace amounts of marijuana and nicotine in Thomas' system, according to television station KUSA in Denver.

As a four-time Pro Bowl selection, Thomas played nine seasons with the Broncos, winning Super Bowl 50 with Denver. He recorded 724 catches for 9,763 yards and 63 touchdowns in 143 career games with the Broncos, Texans and New York Jets.

Former Broncos wide receiver and Super Bowl champion Demaryius Thomas died from 'complications of a seizure disorder,' autopsy has revealed

Demaryius Thomas (88) of the Denver Broncos leaves the field with his mom, Katina Smith, and dad, Bobby Thomas, after winning Super Bowl 50 in February of 2016

Aside from his on the field accolades he was well known for his huge smile and work in the Denver community.

Thomas is now one of the many former NFL players whose death has been linked to CTE, though it is unknown if Thomas's issues were caused from football or caused by his 2019 car accident.

Researchers at Boston University had previously revealed that Thomas was suffering from Stage 2 CTE, however they did not believe this played a role in the seizures that ultimately led to Thomas's death. 

'He had two different conditions in parallel,' Boston University's Dr. Ann McKee told the New York Times last month, explaining that seizures are not typically linked with CTE.

Former NFL receiver Vincent Jackson (pictured) was also suffering from Stage 2 CTE when he was found dead from chronic alcohol consumption in February of 2021 at 38 

Several notable players who committed suicide were posthumously diagnosed with the disease, such as Junior Seau (left) and Aaron Hernandez (right)

It is worth noting that Vincent Jackson, who played for Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the then San Diego Chargers before they moved to LA and was also found dead in February 2021, was also diagnosed with Stage 2 CTE. 

Jackson's cause of death at 38 was cited as chronic alcohol consumption.  

In 2017, a Boston University study diagnosed CTE in 110 out of 111 deceased former NFL players as part of the biggest ever case series on the disease. 

Several players who have been posthumously diagnosed with the disease committed suicide, such as former Patriots tight end and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez, as well as All-Pro linebacker Junior Seau, who shot himself in the chest to preserve his brain for CTE researchers.

Another former NFL player, Phillip Adams, was found to have been suffering from the same condition when he murdered five people and then killed himself in South Carolina last year.

In December, following Thomas's death, Jackson's family revealed that he had been battling CTE prior to his sudden death.

Both the NFL and the NCAA have worked to reduce full-contact practice reps for players in an effort to cut the apparent risks of CTE. 

Ex-Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez suffered from stage 3 CTE at the time of his suicide, according to Boston University doctors, while his one-time teammate Phillip Adams had stage 2 when he killed himself earlier this year in South Carolina 

Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas stands with his parents, Bobby Thomas, right, and Katina Smith, prior to the team's game against the Denver Broncos on November 4, 2018

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Demaryius Thomas died from 'complications of a seizure disorder' and not from brain disease CTE

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