Real-life 'Raging Bull' boxer Jake LaMotta dead at 95

"He was a great, sweet, sensitive, strong, compelling man," the boxer's wife, Denise Baker, said.
By Annie Martin  |  Sept. 20, 2017 at 12:02 PM
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Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Boxing legend Jake LaMotta died Tuesday at age 95.

The retired boxer, whose memoir inspired the 1980 film Raging Bull, died in a nursing home after complications from pneumonia, LaMotta's wife, Denise Baker, told TMZ.

"I just want people to know, he was a great, sweet, sensitive, strong, compelling man with a great sense of humor, with eyes that danced," Baker said.

Another family member said LaMotta was ailing over the past few weeks, and "worsened considerably" this week. The boxer's daughter, Christi LaMotta, confirmed her dad's death in a Facebook post Tuesday.

"Jake LaMotta July 10, 1922 - September 19, 2017 Rest in Peace Pop," she wrote.

LaMotta was born in the Bronx, N.Y., to Italian immigrant parents, and started his professional boxing career at age 19. He was nicknamed "The Raging Bull" due to his aggressive style of fighting.

LaMotta competed as a middleweight for most of his career, and won the world middleweight title in 1949. He had a longtime rivalry with Sugar Ray Robinson, which culminated in a six-fight series in the 1940s, of which LaMotta won one.

LaMotta published Raging Bull: My Story in 1970. Martin Scorsese adapted the memoir and cast Robert De Niro as LaMotta, Joe Pesci as LaMotta's brother, Joey LaMotta, and Cathy Moriarty as LaMotta's first wife, Vickie LaMotta.

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