O.J. Simpson, former athlete and actor accused of murder, dead at 76 due to cancer

By Sarah Baines on April 11, 2024

Former football running back and actor O.J. Simpson, infamously acquitted of charges that he murdered his ex-wife, passed away Wednesday at age 76 in Las Vegas, Nev. His family confirmed the news on Thursday from Simpson’s official X account, naming cancer as the cause of death. His prostate cancer diagnosis was made public only two months prior in February.

The post read, “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.”

Simpson shot to stardom by way of his successful football career, setting the tone by winning USC’s second Heisman trophy in 1968. A year later in 1969, he was the first player chosen in the NFL draft and played for the Buffalo Bills for nine years. It was during that time that Simpson became the first NFL player to rush more than 2,000 yards. He capped off his NFL career in 1979 after two years with the San Francisco 49ers.

Before he played professional football, though, Simpson was in the midst of pursuing acting, first appearing in “Dragnet.” Throughout the 1970s and during the height of his NFL success, he starred as Jernigan in “The Towering Inferno” (1974) and Kadi Touray in “Roots,” (1977) and continued on later in the 1980s and 1990s as Detective Nordberg in the “Naked Gun” comedy movies.

Simpson, given the nickname “The Juice” during his football years, started his longtime endorsement with the rental car company Hertz in 1975. The deal paid off quickly, as the first year of the deal increased the rental car company’s annual profit by 50 percent to $42.2 million. The two continued the partnership through the early 1990s.

What Simpson would be remembered for shifted drastically due to the events that took place in 1994 on June 12. Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, whom he divorced in 1992, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were found stabbed to death outside of her condo in Brentwood, Calif. In 1989, Simpson pleaded no contest to a domestic violence charge against Brown, which led police to name him immediately as a person of interest in the murders. Charges were filed against former actor, and his subsequent failure to turn himself in led to a notorious police pursuit. The pursuit involved Simpson’s friend, Al Cowlings, as the driver of a white 1993 Ford Bronco. Cowlings claimed Simpson was in the back of the car with a pistol to his head, demanding to be taken back to his estate in Brentwood, Calif. The 1994 NBA Finals were interrupted with the broadcast of the event, and with an estimated 95 million viewers, it was dubbed “the most famous ride on American shores since Paul Revere’s.”

What followed was one of America’s most widely publicized events: the pursuit, arrest and the so-called “trial of the century.” It’s estimated that over 100 million people watched as the jury announced its controversial “not guilty” verdict. Later, in 1996, Goldman and Brown’s families filed a civil lawsuit against Simpson. The jury in Santa Monica, Calif., unanimously found Simpson liable. As a result, the former athlete was ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages.

This wasn’t the end of Simpson’s run-ins with the law. He was arrested for battery and burglary as the result of a traffic dispute incident in Florida, and was imprisoned for nine years in Nevada after he led a group that stole sports memorabilia at gunpoint, thereafter charged with criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, assault, robbery and use of a deadly weapon. He was released from prison in 2017 and from parole in 2021.

Along with his cancer diagnosis, it was announced that Simpson was undergoing chemotherapy. Simpson himself never confirmed or acknowledged the diagnosis.

Princess Kate has cancer according to Palace – Watch her video message

Angelina Jolie claims Brad Pitt physical abuse

Around the site