Rocky V star and former heayweight boxing champion Tommy Morrison died on Sunday, after having battled AIDS for over a decade. He was 44.
Morrison died in a Nebraska hospital with his wife by his side. Tony Holden, Morrison's longtime promoter and friend, confirmed his death. Holden told TMZ that the Morrison had been suffering from an illness for several months but didn't give any more details.
Morrison tested positive for HIV in February 1995. Soon after, Morrison's boxing license was suspended by the state of Nevada. The ban was upheld by every other sanctioning body, after which Morrison stated in a news conference that he'd never fight again, pointing to his "permissive, fast and reckless lifestyle" as the root cause.
In 1993, Morrison -- who was nicknamed "The Duke" -- beat George Foreman to win the WBO heavyweight title. In the same year, Morrison pleaded guilty to assaulting a college student. He was also held accountable for holding illegal weapons and multiple DUIs over the years. He was sentenced to two years in prison in 2000 and had to serve an extra year in 2002 for violating parole.
Morrison starred in 1990's Rocky V, playing the role of Tommy Gunn, a rookie boxer training under Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone).
Morrison never really truly acknowledged his AIDS illness.
"That's the way Tommy took off after he was told he was HIV-positive," Holden told The Associated Press. "When he first was told, I was taking him to seek treatment and to different doctors around the country. And then he started research on the Internet and started saying it was a conspiracy. He went in that direction and never looked back."
Watch a clip from Rocky V featuring Morrison as Tommy Gunn: