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NFL: DEC 09 Cowboys v Lions

Source: Icon Sportswire / Getty

Former NFL running back Marion Barber III has passed away.

The former Dallas Cowboy was found dead in his Frisco, Texas apartment at the age of 38.

The Texas city police said the discovery was made when officials responded to a welfare check on Wednesday morning after forcing their way into the residence. They added that they were digging deeper into the death in the home but didn’t outright identify Barber in their statement.

“Frisco Police responded to a welfare concern at an apartment believed to be leased by Marion Barber,” police spokesperson Joshua Lovell told Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Frisco Police along with the Collin County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating an unattended death at the location.”

Barber was a talented athlete in football, baseball, and track while at Wayzata High School in Minnesota, but honed in on the running back position, eventually leading him to follow his father’s footsteps and attend the University of Minnesota. After amassing 3276 rushing yards –fourth in the school’s history– he’d forgo his senior and get drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft with the 109th overall pick.

The team released a statement on Barber’s death, emphasizing his hard work and devotion to the game.

“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. He had a passion for the game and love for his coaches and teammates. Our hearts go out to Marion’s family and friends during this difficult time.”

Known for his unforgiving running style, he earned the nickname “Marion the Barbarian” and would finish his career with 59 touchdowns and 4,780 rushing yards. He would go on to play the 2011 season with the Chicago Bears before announcing his retirement in March 2012.

The Pro-bowler would have celebrated his 39th birthday on June 10.