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American football icon turned celebrity murder defendant, O.J. Simpson, dies at 76
Photo courtesy: wikipedia.org

American football icon turned celebrity murder defendant, O.J. Simpson, dies at 76

| @indiablooms | 11 Apr 2024, 11:05 pm

Former star football player turned actor O.J. Simpson, who was famously acquitted in a highly-publicized trial for the murder of his ex-wife and her friend, died Thursday from cancer at the age of 76, media reports said citing his family.

In an official statement on his verified X account, his family announced, “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.”

Although Simpson was acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in his criminal trial, he was later found responsible in a civil lawsuit brought by the victims' families, three years following the criminal trial.

Born as Orenthal James Simpson in San Francisco, he garnered fame by winning the Heisman Trophy during his time at USC, and later went on to set records in professional football with the San Francisco 49ers and the Buffalo Bills.

He debuted his acting career while still at USC, and featured on “Medical Center” before starting as professional football player.

He acted in films such as “The Klansman,” “The Cassandra Crossing” and “The Towering Inferno,” as well as the miniseries “Roots,” while still in the NFL.

Following his retirement from football, he gained fame by appearing in three "Naked Gun" films and the comedy "Back to the Beach."

On June 12, 1994, the bodies of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were found outside her Brentwood condominium. Simpson, who had earlier pleaded no contest to a domestic violence charge involving Nicole Brown Simpson during their marriage, became a prime suspect in the murders, leading to charges being filed against him.

Instead of surrendering, he sparked a media frenzy by attempting to flee in his white Ford Bronco.

His escape attempt was televised on June 17 that captivated an audience of approximately 95 million people.

The subsequent trial turned into a media spectacle, and Simpson was ultimately acquitted of the two murders.

However, in 1997, Goldman's family pursued a civil lawsuit against Simpson, leading to him being found liable for wrongful death and battery against Goldman, as well as battery against Nicole Brown Simpson.

He was ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages.

Later on, he served nearly nine years in prison after being convicted of robbery, kidnapping, and other charges related to a sports memorabilia scheme in Las Vegas.

These incidents started from a 2007 event at a casino hotel, during which Simpson and five accomplices, at least two of whom were armed, forcibly took sports memorabilia valued at thousands of dollars from two dealers.

Simpson claimed he was merely trying to recover his own belongings but was sentenced to a prison term of up to 33 years.

In 2017, Simpson was granted parole and relocated to a gated community in Las Vegas.

Due to his exemplary conduct, he was released from parole early in 2021 at the age of 74.

Several Hollywood films and docuseries, such as Fox's "The O.J. Simpson Story" (1995), CBS' "American Tragedy" (2000), Investigation Discovery's "OJ: Trial of the Century" (2014), the Academy Award-winning "O.J.: Made in America" (2016), and FX's "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" (2016) starring Cuba Gooding Jr., have chronicled the infamous trial in detail.

Sacha Baron Cohen, in character for his 2018 Showtime series "Who Is America?", made an attempt to elicit a confession from Simpson in a memorable albeit awkward interview.

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