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O.J. Simpson, football star and acquitted murder defendant, dies at 76

O.J. Simpson, the former NFL star and broadcaster who is most remembered for his 1995 acquittal in the brutal killings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, has died of cancer, his family announced Thursday on X, formerly known as Twitter. He was 76. His prostate cancer diagnosis was just made public two months prior. His family said “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,” in a post on X.

Simpson was a highly decorated athlete, winning the 1968 Heisman Trophy as a senior running back at the University of Southern California before playing for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and later the San Francisco 49ers. His murder trial was televised and became a public spectacle, with many referring to it as “The Trial of the Century.” The jury found him not guilty. In 1997, another jury unanimously deemed Simpson liable for Brown Simpson’s and Goldman’s wrongful deaths in a civil lawsuit brought by Goldman’s family and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages. Simpson maintained his innocence, despite many believing that he was responsible for the murders. The case is infamous and synonymous with Simpson’s name.

In an unrelated case, Simpson served 9 years in prison. He was convicted on charges related to a 2007 armed robbery in Las Vegas in which he and others tried to steal what Simpson said were pieces of his own sports memorabilia at gunpoint. In 2017, he was granted parole and said “I’ve done my time. I’ve done it as well and as respectfully as I think anyone can.”

In a book titled “If I Did It: Confessions of The Killer,” Simpson described the hypothetical killings of Brown Simpson and Goldman. In a 2006 interview that was not released until 2018, Simpson once again described the hypothetical murders, saying “And I remember I grabbed the knife – I do remember that portion … and to be honest, after that, I don’t remember, except I’m standing there and there’s all kind of stuff around and…”

The controversial former NFL star has a contentious legacy, but he will be forever remembered in pop culture.

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