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A Boxing Great Is Fatally Struck by Car

Pernell 'Sweetpea' Whitaker is dead at 55
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2019 9:45 AM CDT
Pernell Whitaker shows off his ring after being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y., Sunday, June 10, 2007.   (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

(Newser) – He was a four-time world champion and an Olympic gold medalist, and on Monday the boxing world was mourning the death of Pernell "Sweetpea" Whitaker. The 55-year-old was fatally struck by a vehicle Sunday night in Virginia Beach, reports the Virginian-Pilot. Whitaker made a big splash with a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics and went on to become a world champion in four different weight classes—lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight, and light middleweight, per WTKR.

Among his accolades: Being named the 10th greatest boxer of the last 80 years by Ring magazine in 2002. The same magazine crowned him boxer of the year in 1989. Whitaker retired from the ring in 2001, but went on to work as a trainer. Police were still investigating the accident, but no charges have been filed, and the driver remained at the scene. "I guess he was wearing dark clothes, the road was dark and the driver didn't see him," his son tells the Virginian-Pilot. (George Foreman's daughter, also a boxer, died in March.)

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