02 September 2013

Boxer Tommy Morrison, Former Heavyweight Champion, Dead At 44

English: Tommy Morrison during the Chiller The...
CBS News

Tommy Morrison, a former heavyweight champion who gained fame for his role in the movie "Rocky V," has died. He was 44.

Morrison's former manager, Tony Holden says his longtime friend died Sunday night at a Nebraska hospital. The family would not disclose the cause of death. Morrison tested positive for HIV in February 1996.

Morrison was born in Arkansas and grew up in Oklahoma.

In 1993, Morrison beat George Foreman to win the World Boxing Organization heavyweight title. His last Nevada-sanctioned fight was in 1995, a loss to Lennox Lewis.

Morrison went on to fight again in Japan nine months later, earning a TKO that kept his career on track for what would have been a massive payday: a showdown against Mike Tyson.

However, just as his boxing career and general celebrity were cresting, Morrison tested positive for HIV in 1996 before a fight with Arthur Weathers, which he said afterwards effectively put the brakes on his rise. In the years that followed, he claimed the test was a false-positive, and even invited the New York Times to test him for HIV in 2007.

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