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Former American football star and actor OJ Simpson, cleared by a Los Angeles jury in what the US media called “the trial of the century,” has passed away after a battle with cancer.

Simpson was acquitted in a 1995 trial of murdering his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, but was found responsible for their deaths in a civil lawsuit.

OJ Simpson
Image: Gerald Johnson, Public Domain

The former Heisman Trophy winner and Buffalo Bills running back, who went on to star in films such as The Naked Gun, was later imprisoned for armed robbery and kidnapping.

Simpson’s family posted a brief message on his official X, formerly known as Twitter account, announcing his passing.

The statement read:

“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.”

OJ Simpson talking to reporters after a game in 1967. Image: Don Cormier, LA Times, CC BY 4.0

Simpson was found not guilty in the 1994 stabbing deaths of Brown Simpson and Goldman, but was held liable for their deaths in civil court and ordered to pay $33.5 million.

Simpson later served nine years in a Nevada prison after being convicted on counts of armed robbery and kidnapping two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint in 2008.

Goldman’s father, Fred Goldman, told NBC News that Simpson’s death only emphasised his grief.

“The only thing I have to say is it’s just further reminder of Ron being gone all these years,” Mr Goldman said..

“It’s no great loss to the world. It’s a further reminder of Ron’s being gone.”