2009 30 May

Former Heavyweight Champ’s Daughter Dies In Freak Accident

Former Heavyweight Champion and The Baddest Man on the Planet, Mike Tyson, has suffered – and caused his share of suffering – in his short life.

tyson_trainingBorn in the Brownsville section of  Brooklyn, Tyson, came under the wing of legendary trainer Cus D’Amato, and shortly thereafter became the youngest world boxing champion at age nineteen.  D’Amato refined Tyson’s ferocious anger and turned the young man into one of the most efficient and brutally effective fighters in history.

He lost the guiding force in his life, D’Amato, in late 1985, and that loss sent Tyson into an emotional spin from which he has yet to fully recover.

And now, after a series of financial and personal hurdles: a stint in prison, failed marriages and the disclosure that his millions had mostly been wasted or stolen, Tyson has suffered the unimaginable – the loss of a child.

The boxer’s 4-year-old daughter, Exodus, died this week in a bizarre accident. Exodus Tyson died at a hospital Tuesday, a day after she was apparently strangled when a cord dangling from a treadmill became wrapped around her neck at her home in Phoenix, AZ.

Tyson made his professional debut on March 6, 1985, in Albany, New York. He defeated Hector Mercedes via a first round knockout and went on to win 26 of his first 28 fights by knockout. An unheard of 16 of those knock0uts came in the first round. In November of 1986, just over a year after the D’Amato’s death, Tyson earned his first title fight against Trevor Berbick for the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight championship.

Tyson won the title with a second-round TKO, and at the age of 20 years and 4 months became the youngest heavyweight champion in history.

“There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Exodus,” read a statement from Tyson’s family. “We ask you now to please respect our need at this very difficult time for privacy to grieve and try to help each other heal.”

During two years he was at his peak, Tyson is said to have earned $140 million. By 2003, he filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The fighter told The New York Times he has been sober for 15 months after years of drug and alcohol abuse.

“I don’t know who I am,” he told the newspaper. “That might sound stupid. I really have no idea. All my life I’ve been drinking and drugging and partying, and all of a sudden this comes to a stop.”

At a sentencing hearing, nearly a year after his arrest in Phoenix for possession of cocaine, his attorney David Chesnoff said Tyson has taken 29 drug tests without a relapse and was attending Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

Chesnoff said Tyson has become an example of how a man can overcome drug abuse, a violent past and a difficult childhood.

“He’s tried his hardest,” his attorney said, “despite coming from almost impossible beginnings.”

(Tyson Photo – Michel Comte)

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