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OJ Simpson, ex-NFL star controversially cleared of double murder, dies at 76 after cancer battle

OJ Simpson, the former NFL star and suspected double murderer, has died of cancer at 76, his family said in a statement on Thursday.

“On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer,” the statement said. “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.”

Orenthal James Simpson was one of the most famous college footballers before he played in the NFL. While at USC, he captured the Heisman Trophy and went on to play for the 49ers and the Bills. He retired in 1979 to focus on a career in acting, appearing in Hollywood movies such as The Naked Gun.

But by the late 20th century, he had become one of the most controversial figures in the U.S. after he was acquitted of the murder of his former wife Nicole Brown and her friend in a trial that attracted millions of viewers in the U.S. and beyond.

In 1994, Simpson was arrested over the murder of his ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman. The two were found stabbed to death outside Brown’s home in Los Angeles. Simpson was expected to turn himself in but on the day that was to happen, he tried to flee pursuing police officers in a white Ford Bronco, leading the officers on a slow-speed chase through the Los Angeles area. The chase was broadcast live.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Simpson murdered Brown in a jealous fury, BBC reported. Prosecutors provided evidence including hair, blood and fibre tests connecting Simpson to the murders.

But, according to the defense, Simpson was just being framed by “racist” police officers.

Then came one of the most unforgettable moments when prosecutors asked Simpson to wear a pair of gloves they alleged he wore during the stabbings. Simpson struggled to put the gloves on. One of his lawyers, Johnnie Cochrane, eventually told the jury in his closing arguments: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

In 2008, years after the not-guilty verdict, Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in jail. He was found guilty of an armed robbery in Las Vegas but was granted parole after serving a minimum of nine years.

Mildred Europa Taylor

Mildred Europa Taylor is a writer and content creator. She loves writing about health and women's issues in Africa and the African diaspora.

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