Notorious former football great and alleged murderer OJ Simpson has died, aged 76. 

His family confirmed his passing on Twitter (we’re not calling it X), saying that he lost his battle with cancer. He passed away surrounded by his children and grandchildren. The controversial star was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February. 

But just who is OJ Simpson?

Born  Orenthal James Simpson in 1947, OJ is considered one of the greatest American football players ever.  Simpson was ranked 2nd in all-time rushing yards when he retired and is now 21st. He was named National Football League (NFL) Player of the Year in 1973 and played in six Pro Bowls. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985 and named to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team in 2019. He got the nickname “The Juice,” which means power, because of his playing style. 

He also dabbled in acting. He became a professional actor before his football career, appearing in the first episode of Medical Center. During his NFL days, Simpson appeared in shows like Roots and movies like The Towering Inferno. He even started his own film production company in 1979. He also appeared in Hertz commercials, which boosted his acting career. Simpson played Det. Nordberg in The Naked Gun film trilogy and had a cameo in Back to the Beach. He was considered for the lead role in The Terminator, but the role went to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Simpson also worked as a commentator for football broadcasts and appeared on Saturday Night Live.

But all those achievements would be marred when, in 1994, OJ was accused of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman, who were found stabbed outside of Nicole’s Los Angeles home. What followed was one of the most watched car chases in American history. The televised “low-speed” car chase in his friend’s white Ford Bronco (a type of SUV)  captured the nation’s attention, with about 95 million viewers tuning in. 

In 1995, a criminal jury found him not guilty of the killings, although later, he was found liable for the wrongful death of Goldman and battery against him, as well as battery against Nicole Brown Simpson. Simpson was ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages, with $8.5 million going to the Goldman family and $12.5 million in punitive damages to each family.

One of the most famous moments of Simpson’s trial was when he was asked to try on the gloves believed to be worn during the crime. Simpson struggled to put them on, leading to his lawyer, Johnnie Cochran, famously stating in his closing arguments, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

What followed was a life of crime and infamy. Simpson’s book “If I Did It” stirred controversy, with the Goldman family obtaining the rights to publish it. In 2007, Simpson was arrested for robbery in Las Vegas, leading to a trial where he was found guilty and sentenced to 33 years in prison. He was granted parole in 2017 after serving nine years and released from parole in 2021.

Ever since 1994, Simpson has been a mainstay of pop culture. One of the lawyers representing Simpson was Robert Kardashian, the patriarch of the now highly famous Kardashian family. 

Rapper Jay-Z’s The Story of O.J. touches on African American culture, different roles within the black community, and the impact of money. It references Simpson, who famously said, “I’m not black, I’m O.J.,” suggesting that wealth and fame can sometimes make people feel disconnected from their racial identity. Rolling Stone praised the song’s music video as the best of 2017 and ranked #35 on their list of the best rap music videos of all time.