Tommy Morrison, HIV-Positive Ex-Heavyweight Champion, Dies At 44
Tommy Morrison, who became a heavyweight champion when he defeated George Foreman in Las Vegas in 1993, died on Sunday at a hospital in Omaha, Neb. He was 44.
Three years after his win over Foreman, Morrison tested positive for HIV. His license was thereafter suspended by Nevada and the ban was subsequently upheld by all other sanctioning bodies. Following a three-year stint in prison, Morrison declared that his HIV test provided a false positive and attempted to wage a comeback in the ring.
Morrison only fought in two more matches after he claimed to not be infected with HIV – finishing his career with an impressive record of 48-3-1. The boxer won his first 28 fights by taking down a number of esteemed fighters and previous champions, including Pinklon Thomas. Following his massive success, he lost to relative no-name Michael Bentt – decreasing the importance of his high-profile bout against Lennox Lewis.
Out of the ring, Morrison faced a seemingly never-ending stream of legal battles. In 1993, he pled guilty to assaulting a college student. He later made court appearances for weapons charges and more than one DUI incident. After spending two years behind bars in 2000, an additional year was tacked on for parole violations.
An official cause of death has not been revealed for Morrison, but his wife Trisha Morrison stated that he was suffering from Guillain-Barre Syndrome in a recent interview with ESPN.
Morrison is survived by his wife and four sons.
– Chelsea Regan