OJ Simpson, former NFL star, dead at 76

O.J. Simpson, the NFL running back who was later infamously acquitted of his ex-wife's murder, has passed away at the age of 76. His family confirmed the news on Thursday.

"Our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer," read a post on the official OJ Simpson X account. "He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren."

His attorney told TMZ that Simpson had died in Las Vegas. TMZ noted that Simpson was battling prostate cancer in recent years and had been in hospice care for the last few months.

Football career

A San Francisco native, Simpson was a Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Southern California. He was drafted first overall by the Buffalo Bills and went on to lead the league in rushing four separate times in the course of his 11-year career. 

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Simpson was named MVP in 1973 when he set the single-season rushing record of 2,003 yards. After an injury-shortened season in 1977, the Bills traded Simpson to the 49ers. He spent two seasons in San Francisco before retiring in 1979 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

Simpson still holds the NFL records for:

  • Fastest player to gain 1,000 rushing yards in a season
  • Fastest player to gain 2,000 rushing yards in a season
  • Most rushing yards per game in a season

TV & film career

Even before retiring from the NFL, Simpson turned to Hollywood. He starred in a variety of commercials, TV shows and movies, including 1974’s The Towering Inferno, 1978’s Capricorn One, and the ‘Naked Gun’ series of comedies.

Murder trial

In 1994, Simpson’s ex-wife and her boyfriend were found stabbed to death at her condo in Los Angeles. 'Simpson was quickly named a person of interest in the high-profile crime and, when he failed to turn himself in, police issued a warrant.

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That led to the infamous low-speed chase, when TV stations broadcast live coverage of police trailing the white Ford Bronco as former teammate Al Cowlings drive Simpson across L.A. before he eventually surrendered.

Simpson was arrested and charged with the murders. In a widely watched televised trial, he was ultimately found not guilty. 

No one else was ever convicted for the deaths.

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Post-trial life

In 1996, the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit. The jury eventually found Simpson liable, awarding them over $33 million in damages.

Simpson tried various methods to capitalize on his fame – and infamy – in the following years, including contributing to a supposedly hypothetical book entitled "If I Did It."

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He had several minor run-ins with law enforcement, mostly in his South Florida community, but eventually served time in prison for a Las Vegas robbery.

In September 2007, Simpson was one of a group of men who broke into a hotel room and stole sports memorabilia at gunpoint. He later admitted to taking the items, claiming they had been stolen from him, but pleaded not guilty.

Simpson was found guilty on 12 charges and sentenced to 33 years in prison. Nine years later, he was granted parole and released after serving three years.