Tommy Morrison died on Sept. 1 at the age of 44 in a Nebraska hospital. According to his longtime promoter Tony Holden, Morrison died at 11:50 p.m. CST with his wife by his side.
Tommy “The Duke” Morrison won the WBO heavyweight championship in 1993 when he defeated the legendary George Foreman. The match was a slight disappointment, as the power hitting Morrison chose to play a cat and mouse game that he won in a 12-round decision. He lost the title in his first sanctioned defense against Michael Bentt. His only loss after that came in 1995 in a six round fight with Lennox Lewis.
Morrison, who chose the nickname “The Duke” because he claimed he was the grandnephew of John Wayne, grew up in Oklahoma and began his boxing career in 1988. He finished with a 48-3-1 record, but his career was cut short when he was diagnosed in 1996 with HIV.
Morrison denied ever having HIV and even argued about whether or not the diseased even existed. He claimed to be clean of HIV in 2008 and attempted a comeback, winning both of his comeback matches.
Outside of the ring, Tommy Morrison is also known for his role in “Rocky V,” where he played Sylvester Stallone’s on-screen protégé in the boxing sequel.
According to his wife, Trisha Morrison, Tommy did not have HIV and only suffered from a disease known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disorder affecting the nervous system. According to reports, Tommy Morrison died of respiratory and metabolic acidosis and multiple organ failure.