Thomas was clearly a dominating player on the field and off of it, he was known for his philanthropic efforts. He was named the NFL Man of the Year (later renamed the Walter Payton Man of the Year) in 1993 because of it and it is not inaccurate to say that not only was he a fan favorite but a community hero.
Sadly Thomas was speeding on an icy interstate in January of 2000 and crashed causing paralysis below his chest. He would die less than a month later.Thomas would be posthumously elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2001r, the Chiefs inducted him into their Hall of Fame and retired his no. 58 in 2009.