Kimbo Slice, the mixed-martial artist who rose to fame after videos of his backyard brawls went viral, has died at the age of 42, MMA promoters Bellator have confirmed.
“We are all shocked and saddened by the devastating and untimely loss of Kimbo Slice, a beloved member of the Bellator family,” Bellator president Scott Coker said in a statement.
Slice, whose birth name was Kevin Ferguson, had been transported to a hospital earlier Monday near his home in south Florida, a Coral Springs Police Department sergeant told ESPN.
The reason for his hospitalisation was unclear and the cause of death was not immediately known.
The initial announcement of his death by the American Top Team MMA academy sparked a wave of reaction on social media.
“Kimbo was a charismatic, larger-than-life personality that transcended the sport,” Coker said. “Outside of the cage he was a friendly, gentle giant and a devoted family man. His loss leaves us all with extremely heavy hearts.”
Born in the Bahamas on February 8, 1974, the heavyweight had a 5-2 professional record with four technical knockouts.
He last fought at Bellator 149 on February 19 in Houston.
His win over Dhafir “Dada 5000” Harris was later changed to a no-contest by the body that governs the sport in Texas after Slice tested positive for steroids.