Former Denver Broncos Super Bowl-winning wide receiver Demaryius Thomas has passed away at the age of 33, according to multiple reports on Friday. The cause of his death looks to be centered around a medical issue, according to ESPN.
Thomas was loved by fans for his kindness and generosity off the field and feared by many on the field for his huge playmaking talent.
Demaryius Thomas was one of the top receivers for VFL Peyton Manning while on the Broncos together. Manning and Thomas reached two Super Bowls during their time in Denver, winning Super Bowl 50.
On Friday, Manning made a statement about the passing of Thomas through the Broncos Organization.
“D.T. was a better person than he was a player, and he was a Hall of Fame player,” Manning said via Broncos’ communications representative Patrick Smyth. “That tells you how good of a person he was. He treated my kids like they were his own. He was there for every teammate’s charity event. I texted with D.T. on Tuesday. He was talking about a TD audible we called vs. Arizona in 2014. Absolutely devasted.”
All morning long, sports fans have been sharing stories of Thomas and his work in the community. However, many of those stories were also echoed by other NFL players and staff members.
“We are devastated and completely heartbroken by the sudden, tragic passing of Demaryius Thomas,” the Denver Broncos said in a statement on Friday. “D.T. was beloved by our entire organization, his teammates and coaches, and our fans. Recently retiring as a Bronco, we were very much looking forward to celebrating Demaryius for years to come as one of the greatest players in franchise history.”
We are devastated and completely heartbroken.
Demaryius' humility, warmth, kindness and infectious smile will always be remembered by those who knew him and loved him. pic.twitter.com/0GLZIr6UP3
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) December 10, 2021
The Broncos’ statement then went on to talk about his accomplishments in the Mile High city.
“During nine seasons in Denver, Demaryius established himself as a dominant, record-setting wide receiver who was an instrumental part of two championship runs and our victory in Super Bowl 50. His legacy as a Bronco extended far beyond the playing field as a caring, generous member of our community. D.T. loved giving back-especially spending time with children-and impacted countless lives through the Broncos Boys and Girls Club, hospital visits, his annual football camp and many other genuine interactions. Demaryius’ humility, warmth, kindness and infectious smile will always be remembered by those who knew him and loved him.”
Former Tennessee wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni was Thomas’ receiving coach during his final year in Denver (2018). Azzanni shared his heartbroken thoughts on social media on Friday.
“I’m so sad.. I’m heartbroken,” Azzanni said in his tweet. “I’m at a total loss. I’m sick…. I’m crying I’m just…. I don’t know. The Azzanni family will always love you DT. I’m blessed to have known you. RIP #88”
I'm so sad.. I'm heartbroken. I'm at a total loss . I'm sick…. I'm crying I'm just…. I don't know .The Azzanni family will always love you DT. I'm blessed to have known you. RIP #88 pic.twitter.com/UOmCQK8QR5
— Zach Azzanni COACH Z (@CoachZBroncos) December 10, 2021