May 28, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

O.J. Simpson, Infamous Football Star Accused of Murder, Dies at 76

Controversial Figure Succumbs to Cancer Shortly After Diagnosis

Orenthal James Simpson, a former football player who is best known for being accused of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman, has died at the age of 76 from cancer. 

His death on April 10 was announced on his social media account on Twitter and Facebook by a family representative. The message said, in part, “On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer…” Simpson’s last posts, with videos, were sent two months ago on February 9 and 11. The previous posts were responses to a rumor that he was in hospice care, which Simpson denied, stating he was in good health, but it was confirmed that he did have prostate cancer around the same time. 

After Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti filed charges against Simpson on June 17, 1994, Simpson refused to surrender to authorities, called 911, threatening suicide, and went on the run, leading the local authorities on an infamous slow-speed chase on the 5 Freeway, starting in Santa Ana, and 405 Freeway, through West Los Angeles, closely watched by about 95 million viewers on television news. 

His friend and fellow football player, Al Cowlings, was in the white Ford Bronco and called 911, telling the police that Simpson was holding a gun to his head. Cowlings stated that OJ Simpson wanted to talk to his mother and requested that he be allowed to drive to his home in Brentwood. 

After his arrival in Brentwood, Simpson was arrested and charged with the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in July of 1994 and was subsequently acquitted by a jury in Los Angeles after “the trial of the century” that was both controversial and hotly contested by the public in October of 1995. 

No other suspects were ever charged with the crime. Simpson had previously pleaded no contest to a charge of domestic violence in 1989. A Washington Post poll in 2016 found that 83% of white Americans and 57% of Black Americans believed that Simpson committed the murders. 

Simpson was sued in civil court by the two families of the victims and was found liable for the wrongful death of and battery against Ron Goldman and battery against Nicole Brown. The families were awarded $33,500,000 in damages in total, with $8.5 million in compensatory damages awarded to the Goldman family and $12.5 million in punitive damages to each family. According to the Daily Mail, Simpson has allegedly only paid the Goldman family $133,000 of the judgment and owes $100 million with accrued interest.

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