• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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O.J. Simpson, football star turned celebrity murder defendant, dead at 76

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O.J. Simpson, the American football star and actor who was acquitted in a sensational 1995 trial of murdering his former wife but was found responsible for her death in a civil lawsuit and was later imprisoned for armed robbery and kidnapping, has died at the age of 76.

Simpson, cleared by a Los Angeles jury in what the U.S. media called “the trial of the century,” had died on Wednesday after a battle with cancer, his family posted on social media on Thursday.

Simpson avoided prison when he was found not guilty in the 1994 stabbing deaths of former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles. Simpson later served nine years in a Nevada prison after being convicted in 2008 on 12 counts of armed robbery and kidnapping two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint in a Las Vegas hotel.

Nicknamed “The Juice,” Simpson was one of the best and most popular athletes of the late 1960s and 1970s. He overcame childhood infirmity to become an electrifying running back at the University of Southern California and won the Heisman Trophy as college football’s top player. After a record-setting career in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Simpson parlayed his football stardom into a career as a sportscaster, advertising pitchman and Hollywood actor in films including the “Naked Gun” series.

All that changed after Nicole Brown Simpson and Goldman were found fatally slashed in a bloody scene outside her Los Angeles home on June 12, 1994.
Simpson quickly emerged as a suspect. He was ordered to surrender to police but five days after the killings, he fled in his white Ford Bronco with a former teammate – carrying his passport and a disguise. A slow-speed chase through the Los Angeles area ended at Simpson’s mansion and he was later charged in the murders.