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Former Cowboys RB Marion Barber III died of heat stroke, medical examiner says

The 38-year-old was found dead in his Frisco, Texas, apartment on June 1.

FRISCO, Texas — Former Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber III, who was found dead in his Frisco, Texas, apartment in June, died of a heat stroke, according to the Collin County Medical Examiner.

Frisco officers found Barber inside his apartment on June 1 after police received a call about a welfare check. There was no immediate cause of death at the time.

On Monday, the medical examiner revealed Barber died of a heat stroke and ruled his death an accident. The autopsy report revealed that the residence's thermostat was set at 91 degrees with heat set to "on" and exercise equipment was present. The autopsy findings also stated that Barber had a history of exercising during sauna-like conditions.

According to an incident report, police were contacted by an employee at Barber's apartment complex on June 1. The employee told police he was concerned for Barber's welfare because a neighbor had submitted a service request on May 11 due to water leaking into their apartment from Barber's. The employee shut off the water at the leak and scheduled a visit to fix the issue the following day, the incident report stated. The employee said he was unable to contact Barber on either May 12 or 13, and added that numerous phone calls and emails to Barber were not answered for two weeks. 

A letter was also left on Barber's door that had been there for nearly a week when officers arrived on June 1, the incident report stated.

Officers found Barber's body in his bathroom shower with the water not running, but the water to the shower in another bathroom was running, according to the incident report. Medics declared Barber dead at the scene.

The Cowboys drafted Barber out of Minnesota in the fourth round of NFL Draft in 2005, and he played for the franchise from 2005 to 2011. After leaving the Cowboys in 2011, Barber signed with the Chicago Bears where he played one season before retiring in 2012.

After news of Barber's death, the Cowboys released a statement, offering their condolences.

"We are heartbroken by the tragic death of Marion Barber III. Marion was an old-school, hard-nosed football player who ran with the will to win every down," the Cowboys said in the statement. "He had a passion for the game and love for his coaches and teammates."

A celebration of life was held for Barber in Minneapolis on June 22. He was a standout at Wayzata High School in Plymouth, Minnesota, and at the University of Minnesota.

"Marion was one of the best to ever play at Minnesota, and he is a big reason why many people are Gopher fans today," Gopher head coach P.J. Fleck said following Barber's death.

In 2007, Barber rushed for 975 yards on 204 carries and 10 rushing touchdowns for the Cowboys. He was named to the NFL's Pro Bowl team at the end of the season. 

Barber finished his career with 4,780 rushing yards, 1,330 receiving yards and 53 rushing touchdowns.

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