Veteran mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Kimbo Slice died at the age of 42 in Florida on Monday night. The reason of his death is unknown, stated Bellator MMA, the promotion he fought under.
The news came as a huge shock to all the MMA athletes as well as combat sports fans. Still in his prime, Slice, who also fought in the UFC previously, was scheduled for a second encounter with James Thompson at Bellator 158 in London's O2 Arena on July 16.
"We are all shocked and saddened by the devastating and untimely loss of Kimbo Slice, a beloved member of the Bellator family," said Bellator MMA President Scott Coker in a statement, as quoted by the BBC. "One of the most popular MMA fighters ever, Kimbo was a charismatic, larger-than-life personality that transcended the sport."
Slice was hospitalised early on Monday in Margate, Florida, due to undisclosed reasons, stated the Coral Springs police, ESPN reports. Foul play has not been suspected.
He last fought at Bellator 149 on February 19 in Houston, where he defeated Dhafir Harris. The fight was, however, awarded as a no-contest later by the Texas commission after Slice tested positive for anabolic steroids and an elevated testosterone ratio.
UFC President Dana White, along with veteran MMA fighters, as well as 'Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown' star Michael Jai White, took to Twitter to offer condolences.
Some of the tweets:
We battled inside the cage, warrior vs warrior. Outside the cage, we have loved ones. REST IN PEACE KIMBO SLICE. May God Watch Over You [sic].
- Former pro wrestler and Bellator MMA fighter Ken Shamrock.
Prince, Muhammad Ali and now Kimbo well I be damn... RIP [sic].
- UFC fighter Derek Brunson.
Wow, just heard about Kimbo Slice, this is crazy. They say he passed away, he was 42?! Does anybody know 100% certain? [sic]
- UFC legend Bas Rutten.
sad day for anyone that has ever met or is a fan of Kimbo [sic].
- Hollywood actor and former MMA star Quniton Jackson.