Tommy Morrison Dies at 44: Heavyweight Boxer Who Starred in 'Rocky V' Passes Away in Nebraska

By Scott Taylor | Sep 02, 2013 12:59 PM EDT
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Tommy Morrison, a former boxing heavyweight champion, died Sunday at the age of 44, according to his former manager Tony Holden. CBS News reports that Morrison, who also starred in "Rocky V" alongside Sylvester Stallone, passed away at a Nebraska Hospital. The family reportedly has not disclosed the cause of death. Morrison made headlines back in 2006 after it was announced that he tested positive for HIV.

Morrison rose to fame in 1993 after winning the heavyweight championship by defeating George Foreman. Morrison last fought in a Nevada-sanctioned fight against Lennox Lewis in 1995. Controversy surrounded Morrison's positive HIV test after the boxer claimed the results were a false-positive.

CBS News reports that Morrison took a few tests after the initial positive HIV test that reportedly showed he didn't have the virus. However, there were reportedly some who thought Morrison's blood wasn't tested.

According to an interview with, Morrison's wife Trisha said that Morrison had Guillain-Barre Syndrome and not HIV. CBS News reports that Morrison became a spokesman for safe-sex and AIDS awareness soon after his positive HIV test, creating the KnockOut AIDS Foundation.

According to the New York Daily News, Morrison's wife Trisha told the website, "MMA Dirty," that the boxer died of "respiratory and metabolic acidosis and multiple organ failure."

Morrison will likely go down as one of the most controversial boxers of our time. MMA fighter Michael Bisping tweeted, "Rip tommy Morrison. .... Sad story for a great athlete." Our thoughts and condolences go out to Morrison's family and friends.

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