UPDATE:  Earlier this month, the world learned that O.J. Simpson, the notorious Hall of Fame football player, died of cancer on April 10. At the time, few details about his illness were offered, though there was much speculation. Today, his longtime lawyer, Malcolm LaVergne, confirmed to People magazine that O.J. Simpson died from metastatic prostate cancer.


Below is our original reporting from April 11:

Both iconic and infamous, NFL legend O.J. Simpson, who in 1995 was found not guilty of murdering his ex-wife and her friend, died of cancer, according to an announcement posted on X, formerly Twitter, by his family. He was 76.

“On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer,” the family posted Thursday morning, April 11. “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.”

Although that statement did not specify the type of cancer, it had been reported by Local10 News in February that Simpson was receiving chemotherapy in Las Vegas to treat prostate cancer.

When rumors flourished that the former professional athlete and actor was in hospice care, Simpson himself debunked the reports by posting a video on X on February 9. “Hospice,” he said with a laugh. “I’m not in any hospice. I don’t know who put that out there, but I guess it’s like the Donald [Trump] says, ‘You can’t trust the media.’”

In the rest of that video, he did not mention specifics about chemotherapy or his cancer diagnosis.

About one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, and it’s the second leading cause of cancer death among U.S. men, after lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. The risk is higher for Black men, a fact underscored in January when Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest son, Dexter, died of prostate cancer at age 62.

If Simpson indeed had prostate cancer, he would not be the only public figure who wanted to keep that medical information private.

The disease made national headlines in recent months when Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin held a press conference to apologize for being secretive about his prostate cancer diagnosis and the hospitalization that resulted from complications while treating the disease. Luckily—given the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East—there were no gaps in the chain of command at the Defense Department, and Austin soon returned to his post.

“I did not handle this right. I should have told the president about my cancer diagnosis. I should have also told my team and the American public, and I take full responsibility,” Austin said, adding: “I’m here with a clear message to other men, especially older men. Get screened. Get your regular checkups.”

As the Washington Post noted at the time, Austin’s incident “spotlights a broader silence around the disease” and was a “missed opportunity for the Pentagon chief to lead and spread awareness.”

To learn more about this disease click #Prostate Cancer and also check out the Cancer Health Basics on Prostate Cancer. It reads in part:

What is prostate cancer? 

Cancer develops when cells grow out of control. Prostate cancer is a typically slow-growing cancer of the prostate gland, a walnut-sized organ located under the bladder and in front of the rectum. But in some cases, the cancer can grow rapidly and spread beyond the prostate, a process known as metastasis.

Who gets prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men besides skin cancer, and 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. About 174,600 men in the United States will develop prostate cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society. But because it usually progresses slowly, the death rate is relatively low at around 31,600 per year.

Older men are more likely to get prostate cancer. About 60% of cases are diagnosed in men 65 or older, and it is uncommon in men under 40. African-American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than white or Hispanic men, while Asian men have a lower risk.

What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?

The major risk factors for prostate cancer are genetics and family history. Studies looking at the link between prostate cancer and a diet high in red meat, chemical exposures, including smoking, sexually transmitted infections and having had a vasectomy have produced conflicting results.

What is prostate cancer screening?

Doctors primarily use two tests to screen for prostate cancer: the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and the digital rectal exam (DRE), in which a finger is inserted into the rectum to feel for lumps or swelling of the prostate.

Experts disagree about when prostate cancer screening should be done. Because it usually grows slowly, most men with prostate cancer will die of other causes, and early treatment carries some risks. The American Cancer Society recommends that at age 50, men should discuss the risks and benefits of screening with their doctor and make an individual decision. African-American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer should start this discussion sooner, at 45 or even 40.