The sports world lost an icon today. Legendary NFL running back, social justice activist, and actor Jim Brown passed away at 87.
TMZ Sports confirmed Brown’s passing with a statement from his wife and noted the Hall-of-Fame running back was not doing well leading up to his death.
Per TMZ Sports:
“It is with profound sadness that I announce the passing of my husband, Jim Brown,” Monique Brown tells us. “He passed away peacefully last night at our L.A. home. To the world, he was an activist, actor, and football star.”
“To our family, he was a loving and wonderful husband, father and grandfather. Our hearts are broken.”
We’re told Jim hadn’t been doing well … and was recently visited by several of his close friends, including Marshall Faulk, Eric Dickerson, and Flavor Flav.
Brown was a first-round pick in 1957 (6th overall) by the Cleveland Browns and had a legendary career before his early retirement. Brown 3 NFL MVP awards, was selected to 8 First Team All-Pro teams, and led the league in rushing 8 times and in rushing touchdowns. He also won an NFL championship in 1964.
The Cleveland Browns released a statement following the news of Brown’s passing.
“It’s impossible to describe the profound love and gratitude we feel for having the opportunity to be a small piece of Jim’s incredible life and legacy. We mourn his passing, but celebrate the indelible light he brought to the world.
Jim Brown was also an exceptional lacrosse player at Syracuse, earning All-American honors.
Jim Brown’s Post-Football Career Accomplishments
Brown retired from the NFL at 30 when he chose to pursue his acting career and social justice issues. During the offseason in 1966, Brown was filming The Dirty Dozen. Production of the film went long due to bad weather. Browns’ owner Art Modell threatened to suspend Brown’s pay if he did report to training camp on time. Brown chose to retire.
Brown’s early retirement didn’t affect his standing with the organization, his number was retired, and his statue was erected in front of FirstEnergy Stadium in 2016.
On the social justice front, Brown was best known for putting together the Cleveland Summit in June 1967, where he was joined by the late Bill Russell and Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and more in support of the late Muhammad Ali, who refused to serve in the Vietnam War.
Jim Brown Had A History of Violence Against Women
He was once fined and spent a day in jail after beating up a golfing partner. He was charged with rape, sexual battery and assault in 1985 (the charges were later dropped). The next year he was arrested for allegedly beating his fiancée. In 1999, Brown was acquitted of domestic threats against his wife, but convicted of smashing the window of her car and spent time in jail when he refused to attend domestic violence counseling.
Still, he was beloved by many, with LeBron James, Barack Obama, Barry Sanders, Flavor Flav, Stephen A. Smith, and more sharing their love for legendary athletes.
You can see more reactions to his passing and life in the gallery below.
Photo: Diamond Images / Getty
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