O.J. Simpson’s Cause Of Death Confirmed

Authorities have confirmed O.J. Simpson's cause of death.
Credit: Alamy

Authorities have confirmed O.J. Simpson’s cause of death.

Simpson, also known as Orenthal James Simpson, was a former NFL player, actor and broadcaster.

His success was overshadowed by his trial and contentious acquittal for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Simpson had passed away aged 76.

And now, his cause of death has been confirmed.

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Simpson was born on July 9, 1947, in San Francisco, California.

He became a college football star for the University of Southern California, culminating in his prestigious win of the Heisman Trophy in 1968.

The Heisman Trophy is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football, for a combination of great ability, diligence, perseverance, and hard work.

Simpson would enjoy a prosperous career in the National Football League (NFL), notably representing the Buffalo Bills and later the San Francisco 49ers.

O.J. Simpson
O.J. Simpson passed away at age 76. Credit: Alamy

Simpson also found work in acting – his most notable roles were playing Detective Nordberg in the 1988 cop spoof movie Naked Gun and Harry Jernigan in the 1974 disaster film Towering Inferno.

The former NFL player shared three children, Arnelle, Jason and Aaren, with his first wife, Marguerite Whitley, and welcomed two kids, Sydney and Justin, with his second wife Nicole Brown Simpson.

Tragically, Aaren died by accidental drowning shortly before turning two years old, according to The New York Times.

O. J. Simpson and Nicole Brown
O.J. Simpson’s success was overshadowed by his trial and contentious acquittal for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Credit: Alamy

Simpson’s trajectory took a drastic turn in 1994 with his arrest and subsequent charges related to the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

Following what was dubbed the ‘trial of the century’, Simpson was controversially found not guilty.

In an interview with The New York Times in 1995, Simpson said: “I don’t think most of America believes I did it. I’ve gotten thousands of letters and telegrams from people supporting me.”

However, Simpson’s life continued to be plagued by legal troubles.

O.J. Simpson
O.J. Simpson’s life was plagued by legal trouble. Credit: Alamy

In 2007, Simpson was found guilty after robbing a memorabilia dealer – he claimed he was getting back items ‘stolen’ from him.

He was sentenced to 33 years behind bars but was released on parole after just nine.

In his later years, Simpson embraced his controversial reputation, exemplified by his book titled ‘If I Did It’.

The memoir speculated on how the former NFL player might have murdered his ex-wife and Goldman, leading to widespread criticism.

Goldman’s family were given the rights to the memoir by a Florida bankruptcy court after a civil trial found Simpson liable for the deaths as part of the settlement of a $33.5m wrongful death settlement against the former football star.

They released the book under a new title: ‘If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer’, as per Business Insider.

The family said a portion of the proceeds would go to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice, a non-profit organisation the family had set up, per The Independent.

O.J. Simpson
O.J. Simpson’s passing was confirmed by family on social media. Credit: Alamy

Simpson’s family announced his passing on X, formerly Twitter, on April 11, 2024.

It 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. The Simpson Family.”

Following news of the former NFL player’s death, Ron Goldman’s father Fred Goldman told NBC News that the announcement only underscores his grief for his son.

He said over the phone: “The only thing I have to say is, it’s just further reminder of Ron being gone all these years.

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

Former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner also took to social media and shared a brutal two-word response after hearing the news.

“Good riddance,” she wrote.

Simpson had been battling prostate cancer and spent time in hospice care as his health took a turn for the worst.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and it tends to ‘grow slowly’, while some types ‘are aggressive and can spread quickly’, as per Mayo Clinic.

Taking to X earlier this year, he told his followers (via The Independent): “My health is good.

“Obviously I’m dealing with some issues, but hey I think I’m just about over it and I’ll be back on that golf course hopefully in a couple of weeks.”

Days before his death, Simpson was released from hospice and sent home, where he passed away surrounded by his family.

Attorney Malcolm LaVergne revealed that in one of the last visits to the former football player, he had been ‘on the couch … drinking a beer and watching TV’, as per The Independent.

He recalled: “He’s usually the one who keeps me up on the news… so we were just catching up on the news then.”

LaVergne told the Daily Mail: “O.J. wouldn’t want anyone to feel sad for him. He’d tell you straight up, man, he’s had a great life, happy life, certainly, he had his trials and tribulations, but his last seven years were fantastic, so he wouldn’t want anyone feeling sorry for him.

“He would have liked a few more years to see his grandkids get a little bit older. But he was basically content at the end.”

O.J. Simpson
O.J. Simpson succumbed to his battle with cancer. Credit: Alamy

And now, Simpson’s cause of death has officially been confirmed.

LaVergne tells the Los Angeles Times that the Clark County issued death certificate ‘just confirms what I think most people widely suspected anyway – it was prostate cancer. No other causes listed’.

“On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer,” his family previously disclosed.

LaVergne has confirmed that Simpson will be cremated, telling People: “His entire body, his brain, everything, his fake hips, his fake knees, everything.

“That all goes into the crematorium.”

Scientists reportedly asked to study Simpson’s brain for CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease that has been diagnosed in many deceased professional football players and is believed to be caused by repeated head trauma, according to Mayo Clinic.

LaVergne tells the New York Post: “With O.J. everything’s wild, but I’ve been getting calls from medical centres that are doing CTE testing asking me for O.J.’s brain… that is not happening.

“I may consult with the children on it, but I haven’t heard anything about it, so it’s just not going to happen. O.J. wants all of his body cremated for his children to do what they see fit.”

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Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.