O.J. Simpson dies of prostate cancer at 76, his family announces (2024)

O.J.Simpson, the football star and actor whose life took a shocking turn when he was accused of stabbing to death his ex-wife and a man who was with her the night of the killings, died Wednesday of prostate cancer at the age of 76, according to a post on social media attributed to the Simpson family.

"Our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer," the post said. "He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren. During this time of transition, his family asks that you please respect their wishes for privacy and grace."

Simpsonwas acquitted of two counts of murder during a televised trial that gripped America and divided the country largely among racial lines. But the jury in a civil trial foundSimpsonliable for the double murder, and he later served nine years in prison for his role in a botched armed robbery. He was granted parole in 2017.

It completed a stunning fall from grace for the once-celebrated running back who won the Heisman Trophy in 1968 while starring at the University of Southern California. At times he looked unstoppable in the NFL, too, as a member of the Buffalo Bills who was inducted into both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He capitalized on his athletic success in Hollywood, developing a career as a successful actor and TV pitchman. But it all came crashing down after the murder charges that riveted America.

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O.J. charged with murder; the trial

There was the televised low-speed car chase in 1994, withSimpsonin his white Ford Bronco and police in pursuit as Los Angeles residents cheered from freeway overpasses.

There was the so-called "Trial of the Century" in 1995, when a host of high-powered figures emerged, including Johnnie Cochran, one ofSimpson’s defense attorneys. He turned a bloody glove found at the scene of the crime into one of the most memorable moments of the trial. In the courtroom, whenSimpsonstruggled to put his hand inside of the glove, Cochran told the jury, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit."

Simpson’s acquittal set off celebrations from those who pointed to historically unjust treatment of Black people by the U.S. justice system but dismay from those who argued that, regardless of race, the system favored those who could afford high-priced lawyers.

More:Late Johnnie Cochran's firm prays families find 'measure of peace' after O.J. Simpson's death

O.J. Simpson's early life as football star

Orenthal James Simpsonwas born July 9, 1947, in San Francisco and was known as “O.J.” from birth, the son of Eunice Simpson and Jimmy Lee Simpson.

At San Francisco's Galileo High School, Simpson emerged as a football star.

Saddled with poor grades, he enrolled atCity College of San Franciscoin 1965, where his exploits on the football field continued. He was named to the Junior College All-America team and was a coveted prospect by Division I colleges.

Simpson elected to transfer to the University of Southern California, where he led the nation in rushing during the 1967 and 1968 seasons while playing under coach John McKay. He was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy as a junior before winning the award as a senior.

“O.J. Simpson was the first player to reach a rushing mark many thought could not be attained in a 14-game season when he topped 2,000 yards,” said Pro Football Hall of Fame president Jim Porter in a statement Thursday. “His on-field contributions will be preserved in the Hall’s archives in Canton, Ohio.”

O.J.'s personal life

Simpsonmarried his first wife, Marguerite, in 1967, and they had three children, including one who drowned in the family's swimming pool at age 2 in 1979, the year the couple divorced.

Simpsonmet future wife Nicole Brown when she was a 17-year-old waitress and he was still married to Marguerite.Simpsonand Brown married in 1985 and had two children. She later called police after incidents in which he struck her.Simpsonpleaded no contest to spousal abuse charges in 1989.

O.J.'s career as broadcaster, actor

The end of Simpson’s football career marked the beginning of his ongoing celebrity as a broadcaster and actor. He worked as a commentator on "Monday Night Football" and the NFL on NBC while also embarking on a career in acting.

Perhaps best known for his role in the "Naked Gun" movie franchise, Simpson made appearances in about a dozen movies. He also made appearances in about two-dozen TV projects, landing his first roles in 1968 with "Dragnet" and in 2018, one of his final appearances, in "Who is America," according to IMDb.

Simpson was largely shunned by the entertainment industry after he was accused of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman on June 12, 1994, outside of Nicole's home in Los Angeles.

Contributing: Reuters

O.J. Simpson dies of prostate cancer at 76, his family announces (2024)


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