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O.J. Simpson dies at 76 after battle with cancer, family says

O.J. Simpson died on Wednesday, his family announced Thursday. He was 76 years old. File Photo by Jason Bean/UPI
1 of 3 | O.J. Simpson died on Wednesday, his family announced Thursday. He was 76 years old. File Photo by Jason Bean/UPI | License Photo

April 11 (UPI) -- O.J. Simpson, the Hall of Fame NFL running back who became better known for a celebrity murder trial and time in prison for robbery, died on Wednesday after battling cancer, his family said on Thursday. He was 76 years old.

"He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren," the family said in a statement posted on X. "During this time of transition, his family asks that you please respect their wishes for privacy and grace."

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Nicknamed "The Juice," Simpson had a storied football career, winning the Heisman Trophy in college, setting the record for most yards gained in one season in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills with 2,003 yards in 1973. He followed that with being a successful sports broadcaster for NBC, and a pitchman for companies like Hertz while starring in several movies.

All of those things, though, took a backseat when he was accused of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in Los Angeles. He was acquitted in the so-called "Trial of the Century." The trial lasted for months and its verdict polarized a nation mostly on racial lines as his defense used prejudice in the Los Angeles Police Department as one of its defenses.

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Even Simpson's arrest made national television headlines when he fled from police in a white Ford Bronco driven by his friend and former teammate Al Cowlings before surrendering. The police chase that played out in front of chasing television helicopters in Los Angeles for decades connected the vehicle brand with Simpson.

He was later found liable for the deaths in a civil trial and ordered to pay $33.5 million to the Brown and Goldman families.

Simpson found himself in legal trouble again in 2008, when he was found guilty on 12 charges including kidnapping and armed robbery in a case over sports memorabilia in Las Vegas. He was released on parole in 2017 after serving nine years of a 33-year sentence. His parole ended in 2021.

Simpson argued that he was trying to retrieve items and family heirlooms that were stolen from him earlier but was undercut by co-conspirators who secretly taped Simpson and them plotting the crime.

Simpson was hounded by Fred Goldman, the father of Ron Goldman, who secured the rights to the draft of a book Simpson wrote If I Did It after HarperCollins and Fox Television dropped the book and television plans.

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Goldman retitled the book If I Did It: Confessions of a Killer with the word "If" appearing in small type.

Simpson's Trial of the Century continues to draw interest today through television documentaries and dramatizations.

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Shannen Doherty
"Charmed" and "90210" star Shannen Doherty arrives for the Red Envelope Party in New York City on November 3, 2005. Doherty, who also starred in "Riverdale," "Little House on the Prairie," "Heathers," "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "Mallrats," died at the age of 53 following a long battle with cancer on July 13, 2024. Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/UPI | License Photo

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