Former Giants offensive lineman Mitch Petrus is dead at 32 after suffering an apparent heat stroke in Arkansas.

A Super Bowl champion in 2012, Petrus had been working outside his family's shop in Lonoke County which led to the heat stroke, according to the Pulaski County coroner.

Petrus played three NFL seasons, two with the Giants and a third split between New York, the Patriots and Titans, getting into 27 games with four starts.

He played a season-high 55 snaps in the Giants' Super Bowl XLVI win over the Patriots in 2012.

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"We are saddened to hear of Mitch's passing," the Giants said in a statement on Twitter. "Our thoughts go out to Mitch's family and friends."

Petrus was drafted by the Giants in the fifth round of the 2010 draft after a standout walk-on career at the University of Arkansas.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mitch Petrus," the Arkansas football program tweeted on Friday morning. "He was an outstanding competitor, incredible teammate and a true Hog. He will be greatly missed by many. Rest easy Mitch."

Petrus was a University of Arkansas walk-on who played alongside Razorback greats Darren McFadden and Felix Jones and later earned all-SEC honours.

Like much of the US, Arkansas is in the grips of an intense heatwave.