O.J. Simpson dies after battle with cancer at age 76

O.J. Simpson arriving at a restaurant; Los Angeles^ California - circa 1991
O.J. Simpson arriving at a restaurant; Los Angeles^ California - circa 1991

O.J. Simpson — NFL football star, and controversial, high-profile subject of one of the most famous murder trials of all time — has died at age 76. Las Vegas outlet Local10.com had reported earlier this year that Simpson was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer in February 2024.

The Simpson family shared in a statement via X on Thursday, April 11: “On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer. 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.”

Simpson originally rose to fame and popularity as a football player: first as the Heisman Trophy-winning tailback for the University of Southern California in the late 1960s, and later playing 11 seasons in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers. Per ESPN, Simpson won four NFL rushing titles, rushed for 11,236 yards in his career, scored 76 touchdowns, made five first-team All-Pro squads and played in six Pro Bowls. His best season was 1973, when he ran for 2,003 yards — the first running back to break the 2,000-yard rushing mark (doing it in 14 games) while averaging 141.3 yards per game – which is still an NFL record.

Simpson later went on to become a commentator for “Monday Night Football,” as well as dabbling in acting in movies such as “The Naked Gun” series in the 1980s. He appeared in films such as “The Klansman,” “The Cassandra Crossing” and “The Towering Inferno,” as well as the miniseries “Roots”.

However, he became infamous and a household name following the 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, who were fatally stabbed. Simpson was married to Nicole Brown Simpson from 1985 to 1992; she was found stabbed to death outside her Brentwood condo alongside her friend, Ron Goldman, on June 12, 1994. Simpson was charged with the murders when investigators found a glove with blood stains on his property, and he originally agreed to turn himself in to the Los Angeles Police Department; but instead, he became involved in a low-speed car chase on June 17 as he evaded being arested. Police pursued Simpson as he rode in a 1993 Ford Bronco driven by his former teammate Al Cowlings, who said that Simpson was holding a gun to his own head during the drive.

Simpson was arrested for their deaths, after which the highly-publicized, 11-month criminal trial took place from 1994-95. The trial became one of the most significant events of the 1990s, and is believe to have been one of the most widely publicized events in American history. Amid much controversy, Simpson was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife Brown Simpson, and Goldman.

Simpson’s legal troubles were far from over, however, when in 2008 he was found guilty on 12 charges relating to an armed robbery incident in Las Vegas in 2007. Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison and was granted parole in July 2017 before being released in October 2017, and eventually granted early discharge from parole in December 2021. (per Entertainment Weekly)

Simpson is survived by kids Arnelle, Jason, Aaren, Sydney and Justin. (Simpson shared Arnelle, Jason and Aaren with first wife Marguerite Whitley; he shared children Sydney and Justin with ex-wife Nicole.)

Editorial credit: Vicki L. Miller / Shutterstock.com

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