Demaryius Thomas’ Cousin Speaks on Former NFL Star’s Health Before Being Found Dead

by Chris Haney

According to his family members, former NFL wide receiver Demaryius Thomas passed away after suffering a seizure.

Thomas’ cousin, LaTonya Bonseigneur, spoke with the Associated Press about Demaryius following his death. The former Denver Broncos star has had health issues in recent months that led to his tragic passing at 33 years old. Thomas would have turned 34 on Christmas Day.

On Friday, Bonseigneur said that her cousin “had been suffering from seizures for over a year.”

Bonseigneur grew up around Thomas in Montrose, Georgia before he became a star wide receiver at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. He was drafted in the first round in 2010 by the Broncos. He won a Super Bowl and was selected to the Pro Bowl four times before retiring this past summer.

Demaryius Thomas moved back to the Atlanta area just north of the city to Roswell, Georgia after his NFL career. His body was found on Thursday in his home, and his cousin said the family believes he suffered a seizure while in the shower. The family last spoke to Thomas on Wednesday (12/8).

“He was alone and a friend couldn’t get hold of him. So he called his driver, who has a key because of these seizures. He went into his home and found him in the shower,” Bonseigneur explained. “We’re not sure when he died. We just spoke with him (Wednesday).”

“Demaryius was a great guy,” Bonseigneur added. “He came from humble beginnings. He knew God, he was raised in the church and by a close-knit family. Even though he rose to stardom, to us he was just a kid from Montrose. We never fathomed he would go on to do all these amazing things. He was just a kid who loved playing football.”

Demaryius Thomas: From Humble Beginnings to NFL Stardom

Demaryius Thomas’ story of rising above his childhood misfortune is well-known by many in the sports world. As a young man, both his mother and grandmother were arrested on drug charges. Thomas was only 11 years old when his mother, Katina Smith, turned down a lesser sentence in exchange for testifying against her mother, Minnie Pearl Thomas.

Katina was sentenced to 20 years in prison, and Thomas would end up living with his uncle. Years later, President Barack Obama famously freed Thomas’ mother and grandmother. The two women were non-violent drug offenders who benefitted from the president’s initiative to reduce similar prison sentences.

In fact, Smith was released just before Super Bowl 50 in February 2016. She saw her son play in the NFL for the first time on the same day he won the coveted Lombardi Trophy.

Despite losing two of the most important people in his life to prison, Demaryius Thomas persevered against all odds. He went on to become a star in college and had a lengthy NFL career. Thomas played for the Denver Broncos for eight seasons. He then had short stints with the Houston Texans, New England Patriots, and New York Jets.

The wide receiver recorded 724 catches, had 9,763 yards receiving, and scored 63 touchdowns during his NFL career.