O.J. Simpson Dead at 76 After Cancer Battle

O.J. Simpson, the former NFL player whose trial for the 1994 murders of ex Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman captivated the nation, died at 76 after a battle with cancer, his family confirmed.

By Kisha Forde Apr 11, 2024 2:55 PMTags
Watch: O.J. Simpson Dead at 76 After Battle With Cancer

Family and friends are mourning the loss of O.J. Simpson.

The former NFL star, whose football and acting successes were overshadowed by his 1995 trial for the murders of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, has died after privately battling cancer, his family announced. He was 76.

"On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer," a statement shared to his social media account April 11 read. "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's death comes two months after a video began circulating that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was in hospice care as he underwent chemotherapy. At the time, he denied the rumors that he was in hospice care in a clip posted to X, formerly known on Twitter, but did not address his diagnosis. 

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The former running back and California native played in the NFL for 11 seasons, spent primarily with the Buffalo Bills, before retiring in 1979 and turning his career to acting in the '80s in films like The Naked Gun and The Towering Inferno.

Steve Granitz / Contributor / GETTY IMAGES

However, in June 1994 he was accused of murdering ex-wife Nicole and Ron, who were found stabbed to death outside her condo in Brentwood, Calif.

Simpson's case went to trial in 1995, of which the broadcast became a focal point for millions of viewers. He was acquitted of both murders in what many view as a controversial verdict. Two years later, he was found civilly liable for the double homicide.

POO/AFP via Getty Images

Maintaining his innocence throughout the trial and afterward, Simpson also went on to stir up controversy surrounding the case again with his book, If I Did It, which was presented as a hypothetical accounts of the murders, in 2007. (Although the scheduled release of the book was cancelled shortly after being announced the previous year, thousands of copies ended up being printed).

In August of that year, a Florida court awarded the Goldman family rights to the book to partially complete a judgment stemming from the civil trial over the murders and they subsequently changed the title to If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer.

Separately, Simpson had another run-in with the law that year in connection to a robbery-kidnapping over his memorabilia. He was released in October 2017 after serving nine years for the incident.

Five years before his death, Simpson shared an update on his life, noting that he was focused on moving forward.

"We don't need to go back and relive the worst day of our lives," Simpson told the Associated Press in 2019. "The subject of the moment is the subject I will never revisit again. My family and I have moved on to what we call the 'no negative zone.' We focus on the positives."

After his release from prison in Nevada, Simpson decided to stay in Vegas, noting that he was happy with his decision.

"The town has been good to me," he explained. "Everybody I meet seems to be apologizing for what happened to me here."

Simpson is survived by four children: Arnelle and Jason, from his first marriage to Marguerite Whitley, and Sydney and Justin, from his marriage to Nicole. He was also dad to daughter Aaren, who died in an accidental drowning at the age of 2 in 1977.

Read on for Simpson's life in pictures.


Simpson was born in 1947 and started his football career at the City College of San Francisco. After playing for two seasons and being named a junior college All-American, Simpson transferred and started playing  for the University of Southern California's Trojans in 1967. 


The following year, he won the Heisman Trophy.


Following his college football career, the running back entered the NFL and played for the Buffalo Bills from 1969 to 1977.


In addition to playing football, Simpson explored acting—including in the movie The Klansman. He later appeared in The Towering Inferno, Killer Force and The Cassandra Crossing. 


Simpson attended the Cannes Film Festival with producer Patrick Wachsberger in 1975.


Simpson was married to Marguerite Whitley from 1967 to 1979. Together, they welcomed three children: Arnelle, Jason and Aaren. Aaren died following a drowning accident in 1979.

The family is pictured at their home in 1975.


Following his near-decade with the Bills, the athlete joined the San Francisco 49ers, where he played for a two seasons before retiring from football.


Simpson pictured here posing with his Ferrari at Warner Bros Studios.


After playing the game, Simpson became a sports analyst. Here, he can be seen covering a game for NBC in 1980. 


Simpson married Nicole Brown in 1985, the same year they welcomed their first child together, Sydney, and Simpson was inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.

Here, the pair is pictured at an Oscars viewing party in 1983.


Simpson and Brown also welcomed a son, Justin, in 1988. The couple divorced four years later in 1992.

Here the family is pictured at the Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult premiere in 1994—the same year that she was killed.


In June 1994, Simpson was accused of murdering Brown and her friend Ron Goldman. He took off in a white Bronco, and millions of people watched the televised police chase.


Simpson's 1994 mug shot after his arrest.


Simpson went to trial in 1995, and the case captured the nation. He pleaded not guilty and was acquitted on all counts.

He was found liable for Brown and Goldman's deaths in 1997 in a civil lawsuit filed by their families and was ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages,  according to The New York Times.

Simpson would make headlines again when he penned the book If I Did It. The Goldman family later obtained the rights to the manuscript as a way to help satisfy the amount Simpson owed them, CBS News reported, and the subhead Confessions of the Killer was added.


However, these wouldn't be Simpson's last trials. In 2008, he was found guilty of armed robbery, kidnapping and 10 additional charges that were in regard to a memorabilia robbery in Las Vegas, and he was sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison, per The New York Times. Simpson, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, served nine years in prison before he was released on parole.


Simpson speaking at a parole hearing.

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