OJ Simpson, Former Football Star Acquitted of Brutal Double Homicide, Dead at 76

oj simpson
Credit: Disney/ABC/Good Morning America/Canva

O.J. Simpson, former football great and television and film actor who was acquitted of a brutal double homicide in the 1990s, died on Wednesday, per a statement from his family. Simpson was 76 years old.

oj simpson during las vegas robbery trial

Credit: Disney/ABC/Good Morning America

In May 2023, Simpson posted a video on his Twitter account, sharing his cancer diagnosis with fans and saying that he had “caught cancer” and, as a result, “had to do the whole chemo thing.” He further posted that “It [looked] like he had beat it,” though he never disclosed what type of cancer he was battling.

In February of this year, it was reported by a Las Vegas news station that Simpson was undergoing treatment for cancer yet again. On the same day, Simpson posted another video to his Twitter, now X, account, denying rumors that were swirling, suggesting he was in hospice care. In that video, Simpson neither confirmed nor denied that he was ill.

Only two days later, on February 11, another video posted on Simpson’s X account showed the former football star seated outside, thanking his fans and saying that his “health is good.” He continued, saying, “I mean, obviously, I’m dealing with some issues, but I think I’m just about over it.”

Simpson’s Family Announces His Death 

On Thursday morning, his children posted an announcement about his death on his X account, asking for grace and privacy. The post reads, “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.”

A Dynamic Career in Football

Born Orenthal James Simpson and nicknamed “The Juice” by his former teammates, Simpson broke numerous records in college and professional football. He was one of the greatest ball carriers in the history of the NFL during his nine seasons with the Buffalo Bills and his two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. In 1973, Simpson became the first NFL player ever to rush for more than 2,000 years during a single season.

He retired six years later in 1979.

oj simpson in naked gun film

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Following his retirement from the NFL, Simpson continued to embrace his celebrity status, taking on roles as a sportscaster, as a television and movie actor, and as a spokesman for Hertz rental cars.

oj simpson in hertz rental car ad

Credit: Hertz

A Career With Disney That Ended As Soon As It Began

For The Walt Disney Company, Simpson starred in the 99th episode of Adventures in Wonderland, titled “White Rabbits Can’t Jump.”

oj simpson in episode of disney's adventures in wonderland

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

The episode never aired, however, as it was pulled from release following Simpson’s 1994 arrest in the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. It was later adapted into a picture book. To this day, despite Simpson’s acquittal in the 1994 murders of his ex-wife and her friend, it remains the only episode of Disney’s Adventures in Wonderland series that is unavailable on Disney+.

Simpson’s Ex-Wife and Friend Found Murdered in L.A.

On June 12, 1994, life forever changed for the former football great when Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend were found dead outside of Ms. Simpson’s Brentwood home in Los Angeles. They had been brutally stabbed.

Only days later, investigators announced that their chief suspect was O.J. Simpson, and they made public their plans to arrest him in connection with the murders.

Then, five days after the murders, nearly 100 million Americans watched in disbelief, seemingly glued to their television sets, as Simpson’s friend, Al Cowlings, drove Simpson in his white Ford Bronco along the highways in Los Angeles in a low-speed, 60-mile chase Simpson rode in the backseat of the Bronco, gun in hand, threatening to take his own life.

The chase ended without incident after approximately two hours.

Simpson Surrenders and Stands Trial

Ultimately, Simpson surrendered and stood trial for the murders.

oj simpson mug shot

Credit: LAPD/Canva

But in October 1995, after 11 months of grueling work–from the time of the jury selection in the case to the reading of the verdict from the sequestered jury, Simpson was acquitted of culpability in the murders in the criminal trial that was televised daily. He was later found guilty in a civil case against him related to the murders.

Another Arrest Leads to a Guilty Verdict & Jail Time

In September 2007, Simpson was arrested again, this time for leading a group of men into a Las Vegas hotel to steal sports memorabilia that he claimed was his own. The robbery took place at gunpoint. For his part in the crime, Simpson was charged with multiple felony counts that included kidnapping and armed robbery.
oj simpson mugshot robbery in las vegas

Credit: Las Vegas Police Department

In 2008, he was found guilty and received a sentence of up to 33 years in prison. He was then released on parole on October 1, 2017.

Simpson is survived by his children Arnelle and Jason, born during his first marriage, and Sydney and Justin, born during his marriage to his second wife, Nicole Brown Simpson.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!

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