OJ Simpson dies of Cancer at 76, world reflects on his success and controversy

OJ Simpson dies of Cancer at 76, world reflects on his success and controversy

The once-beloved NFL great and Hollywood actor OJ Simpson died Wednesday at his Las Vegas home after being acquitted in a 1995 murder trial that captivated the country. He was 76.

Simpson, who was exonerated of killing his ex-wife and her male friend in the “trial of the century” by a Los Angeles jury, had prostate cancer.

“On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer,” his family said Thursday. “His children and grandchildren surrounded him.”

Simpson, known as “The Juice,” was a prominent late 1960s and 1970s athlete.

After winning the Heisman Trophy at USC, the running back played 11 NFL seasons, nine with the Bills. His career included four NFL running crowns, 11,236 yards, 76 touchdowns, and five Pro Bowls.

Simpson stated, “I was part of the history of the game,” of his Hall of Fame career. “If I did nothing else in my life, I'd made my mark.”

Simpson easily transitioned from NFL glory to acting in TV miniseries “Roots” and flicks like “The Naked Gun.” He was also a famous Hertz pitchman.

He was accused with the 1994 Los Angeles slashing murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, which ended his sports success and Hollywood celebrity.

Live TV coverage of his arrest during a slow-speed white Ford Bronco pursuit was notorious.

The next year, the former football star's "Dream Team" of high-profile lawyers sought to rebut a seemingly devastating stack of evidence in his murder trial, which captivated the nation.

In addition to courtroom bulldogs Robert Shapiro and Johnnie Cochran, the squad featured Robert Kardashian, whose daughter Kim eventually made a reality TV empire from sex tapes.

The blockbuster trial became famous when Simpson attempted to put on a bloodstained glove and defense attorney Cochran said, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

Simpson's Oct. 3, 1995, acquittal sparked indignation, astonishment, and joy across.

“I don’t think most of America believes I did it,” Simpson told the New York Times a week after the jury judgment in 1995. “I’ve received thousands of letters and telegrams from supporters.”

Despite avoiding murder charges, a 1997 civil trial jury held him accountable for the killings and ordered him to pay Brown and Goldman's families $33.5 million.

People claimed that Simpson's Heisman Trophy was auctioned to generate money. The Goldman family received about $500,000 from the award and other assets.

Simpson suffered after his acquittal.

He struggled to pay taxes and defaulted on his lifelong house mortgage while auctioning off his professional profits.

In court, the victims' families thwarted his attempts to profit from books and TV interviews about the killings.

Goldman's family notably acquired Simpson's case manuscript, “If I Did It.”

“It helped me get out of debt and secure my homestead,” Simpson told the Associated Press of the $880,000 book advance.

“It’s all blood money, and unfortunately I had to join the jackals,” he said.

After publishing the book, the Goldmans renamed it “If I Did It: Confessions of a Killer” and inserted the “if” in tiny letters.

“The only thing I have to say is it’s just further reminder of Ron being gone all these years,” Goldman's father, Fred Goldman, told NBC News on Thursday after Simpson's death.

“The world doesn't lose much. Another reminder of Ron's absence.”

Simpson led five men he hardly knew into an armed encounter with two sports memorabilia merchants in a tiny Las Vegas hotel room in 2007, still haunted by the wrongful death verdict.

Initially, he claimed the filmed incident was him trying to reclaim his artifacts.

A jury convicted Simpson, 61, of armed robbery and other charges, sending him to a Nevada jail for nine years before his parole in October 2017.

“I’ve basically spent a conflict-free life, you know,” Simpson, whose parole expired in 2021, added.

Orenthal James Simpson, born July 9, 1947, in San Francisco, was reared in government-subsidized housing.

After high school, he attended City College of San Francisco and USC.

Simpson married Marguerite Whitley in 1967. The next year, he won the Heisman Trophy and collected it on his first kid, Arnelle's birthday.

He has Jason and Aaren with his first wife. One son, Aaren, drowned in 1979.

Simpson married Nicole Brown in 1985 after divorcing Marguerite that year. Brown later charged him with marital abuse, including verbal abuse and physical assault.

Justin and Sydney were their children before their 1992 divorce, two years before her murder.

Simpson remained popular following his acquittal in Brown and Goldman's murders.

He occasionally posted on social media, including a weird video about convicted wife-killer Alex Murdaugh last year.

Simpson died following prostate cancer treatment in Sin City.

The 6-foot-1 former athlete's limp in Las Vegas in November raised health worries.

Simpson appeared emaciated two months before his death but told the world he was healthy in a quick social media video.

Simpson leaves four children from two marriages.

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