Tommy “The Duke” Morrison, a former heavyweight boxing champion who garnered fame after his role in “Rocky V,” has died at the age of 44, according to a Sept. 2 report from KRON 4. Morrison was tested positive for HIV in 1996, but the family declined to state the official cause of death.
In “Rocky V,” Morrison played a boxer from Oklahoma named Tommy Gunn. Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) has retired from the boxing world, but his world has spiraled downward after he discovers that he is bankrupt. Rocky trains the young fighter, which gives him a sense of purpose. After Tommy’s career begins to accelerate, Rocky begins to spend more time training the fighter than being with his son, Robert (Sage Stallone). Robert falls into the wrong crowd at school, and begins to act out at home. Tommy’s career begins to soar, after he beats some of the toughest boxers out there. Eventually, he and Rocky will have a fight in the ring.
Morrison was given the nickname “The Duke” based on “disputed claims” that he is the great-nephew of Hollywood icon John Wayne. Morrison also had an uncredited role in John Carpenter’s “They Live” as Dave, a resistance fighter. The Oklahoma-raised fighter had other roles in documentaries and the TV show “Cybil.” As a boxer, Morrison had a record of 48 wins, three losses, and one draw. He won the World Boxing Organization heavyweight title in 1993 after beating George Foreman. Morrison’s final match was in 2008 against Matt Weishaar, in which Morrison won by TKO.