O.J. Simpson Dead at 76 From Cancer, Family Announces

The football star was known more for his notorious murder trial than his exploits on the field

<p>Jason Bean/Pool/Bloomberg</p> O.J. Simpson in 2017

Jason Bean/Pool/Bloomberg

O.J. Simpson in 2017

O.J. Simpson, arguably one of the most controversial figures in modern American history, has died at the age of 76.

According to a statement from his family on X (formerly Twitter,) the Hall of Fame football player, legendary broadcaster, self-deprecating actor, convicted felon and accused — but ultimately, acquitted — murderer died at 76 years old on April 10 following a cancer diagnosis.

"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," the post on Simpson's X account reads.

Once a celebrated personality, heralded for his record-breaking contributions to college and professional football, Simpson's triumphs and exploits on the gridiron have long been overshadowed by his 1994 arrest for the slashing murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman.

Simpson was detained on June 17, 1994, following a prolonged, low-speed police chase that was carried live on television stations all around the world.

Related: A White Bronco? Too-Tight Gloves? A Guide to the O.J. Simpson Murder Trial for Those Who Missed the '90s

<p>Jason Bean/Pool/Bloomberg</p> O.J. Simpson listens during a parole hearing at Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada on July 20, 2017.

Jason Bean/Pool/Bloomberg

O.J. Simpson listens during a parole hearing at Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada on July 20, 2017.

Crowds formed over highway overpasses to get a glimpse of Simpson, who was infamously chased in a white Ford Bronco being driven by his friend and former teammate Al Cowlings.

Simpson was tried for the murders over 11 months in what many of the legal experts of the time dubbed as "The Trial of the Century." His legal team boasted powerhouse attorneys Robert Shapiro and the late Johnnie Cochran, Robert Kardashian and F. Lee Bailey.

On Oct. 3, 1995, jurors returned not guilty verdicts on both counts of murder. It is estimated that 100 million people in the United States alone tuned in to either watch or listen to the stunning verdict.

Born on July 9, 1947, in San Francisco, Simpson played football in high school and for City College of San Francisco before transferring to the University of Southern California. Simpson was a running back for the Trojans in 1967 and 1968, leading the nation in rushing both years. As a senior, he was awarded the Heisman Trophy.

Simpson was the first selection by the Buffalo Bills in the 1969 AFL-NFL Common Draft, and played with the team through 1978. From 1979 to his retirement in 1982, Simpson played for his hometown San Francisco 49ers.

Simpson, who was nicknamed "Juice," became the first NFL player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a single season in 1973, and to this day holds the record for the single season yards-per-game average — at 143.1. He was the only player to ever rush for over 2,000 yards in the 14-game regular season NFL format.

He entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the 1983 class.

After retiring from professional football, Simpson went on to become a football announcer and sportscaster. He also become known for his acting skills, appearing on television shows like Dragnet, In the Heat of the Night, and 1st and Ten, and in films such as The Towering Inferno, Roots, and The Naked Gun trilogy.

Simpson also starred in a made-for-TV film called Frogmen. Finished months before the killings, it never aired, after NBC executives ultimately decided to shelve it.

At 19, Simpson married Marguerite Whitley, and the couple had three children — Arnelle, Jason and Aeren Simpson. In 1979, at the age of 2, Aeren drowned in the family's swimming pool. The couple divorced in 1979, and Simpson married Nicole Brown Simpson in 1985. They had two children — Sydney and Justin Simpson — before divorcing in 1992.

Related: 20 Years Later: Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman Remembered

Following his acquittal, Simpson was sued in civil court by the Browns and Goldmans.

In 1997, a court decided in their favor, awarding them a liability judgment of $33.5 million. Simpson would end up paying only a small fraction of that amount.

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Ten years later, Simpson was arrested in Las Vegas, Nev., for felony armed robbery and kidnapping after forcing men to return memorabilia he'd claimed they'd stolen from him. The incident happened inside the Palace Station Hotel and Casino.

The case went to trial, and in 2008, Simpson was convicted and sentenced to 33 years behind bars. He served almost nine years of that sentence at the Lovelock Correctional Center before being released on Oct. 1, 2017.

After his release, Simpson kept a relatively low profile, moving to Las Vegas. In 2019, he joined X, where he was followed by more than 1 million people.

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