O.J. Simpson, ex-NFL star acquitted in ‘trial of the century,’ dies: family

(NEXSTAR) — O.J. Simpson has died, his family announced on social media Thursday morning. He was 76.

“On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer,” a post on X attributed to his family reads. “He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren.”

Additional details were not immediately available.

Simpson, who stood trial for the double-murder of his ex-wife and her friend in the 1990s, was reportedly in Las Vegas at the time of his passing, according to TMZ.

The former NFL player was reportedly diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year and undergoing chemotherapy. In a Feb. 9 post to X, Simpson spoke out against rumors that he was in hospice care, saying at the time that “all is well” and that he was not in hospice.

In a video posted a couple of days later, Simpson said, “Obviously, I’m dealing with some issues, but I think I’m just about over it.”

FILE – O.J. Simpson, left, smiles next to San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. at a news conference where the 49ers announced that Simpson had been traded to them from the Buffalo Bills, in San Francisco, March 24, 1978. San Francisco dealt five draft picks to Buffalo in 1978 for hometown star O.J. Simpson, who was about to turn 31 and coming off knee surgery. (AP Photo/Sal Veder, file)

Simpson, a San Francisco native, originally captured the nation’s attention when he won the Heisman Trophy in 1968 while playing for the University of Southern California. He was selected No. 1 overall in the NFL draft the following year by the Buffalo Bills.

The running back became a leading rusher in the league during the 1970s and was named MVP in 1973. During his time in the NFL, Simpson made six Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro selection five times. He was later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

“I was part of the history of the game,” he said years later, recalling that season. “If I did nothing else in my life, I’d made my mark.”

FILE – In this 1977 file photo shows Buffalo Bills NFL Football player O.J. Simpson. (AP Photo, File)

Simpson’s legacy, however, was forever changed by the June 1994 knife slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles. Live TV coverage of his arrest after a famous slow-speed chase marked a stunning fall from grace for the sports hero.

He would later be found not guilty after a televised court case that grappled the country, and has since been covered in books, television, and film. Simpson was, however, found liable in 1997 for the deaths, and ordered to pay $33.5 million to family members of Brown and Goldman.

“I don’t think most of America believes I did it,” Simpson told The New York Times in 1995, a week after a jury determined he did not kill Brown and Goldman. “I’ve gotten thousands of letters and telegrams from people supporting me.”

A decade later, still shadowed by the California wrongful death judgment, Simpson led five men he barely knew into a confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers in a cramped Las Vegas hotel room. Two men with Simpson had guns. A jury convicted Simpson of armed robbery and other felonies.

He was ultimately found guilty of armed robbery and kidnapping, receiving a sentence of 33 years in prison. In 2021, Simpson was granted early release from parole, which he had been on since 2017.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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