Jake LaMotta, the world middleweight boxing champion who inspired the 1980 film “Raging Bull,” passed away on Tuesday at the age of 95.
LaMotta’s death, reported by TMZ, stemmed from pneumonia complications, and he passed away in a nursing home. A family member told TMZ that LaMotta’s condition had deteriorated over the course of a few weeks and that he’d been fed via a tube that he seemingly resented, as he removed it several times.
As his condition worsened, the family decided to withdraw the tube.
During his career, the boxing Hall of Famer went 83-19 with 30 knockouts in 106 career fights. He began his boxing career in 1941 after being rejected from military service due to a medical issue.
He seemed to be able to absorb pain beyond normal human ability, and his tolerance for physical abuse, along with his rough fighting style, earned him the nickname, “The Raging Bull.”
LaMotta’s career was more notable due to a six-fight rivalry with Sugar Ray Robinson (see video below).
While LaMotta only defeated Ray once in the series of bouts, he went on to win the world middleweight title in 1949, defeating Marcel Cerdan.
Two years earlier, in 1947, LaMotta was knocked out by Billy Fox, a bout he later admitted he threw due to pressure from the mob.
LaMotta’s final match came in 1954, a 10-round split-decision loss.
He published his memoir, “Raging Bull: My Story,” in 1970, detailing a turbulent life of violence and aggression, both in and out of the ring.
The book was made into a Martin Scorsese movie, which starred Robert De Niro as LaMotta. The black-and-white epic also starred Joe Pesci as LaMotta’s brother and manager Joey, and Cathy Moriarty as his wife, Vickie. Vickie died in 1957.
Jake’s new wife, Denise, reportedly told TMZ, “I just want people to know, he was a great, sweet, sensitive, strong, compelling man with a great sense of humor, with eyes that danced.”
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) September 20, 2017
Former middleweight champion Jake LaMotta, known for his battles with Sugar Ray Robinson, dies at 95. https://t.co/sYA6Dt0Fxr
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 20, 2017
— Jim Norton (@JimNorton) September 20, 2017
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) September 20, 2017
If there is a heaven — and I sure hope there is — Robinson, Cerdan, Williams, Zivic are all there saying, “Welcome home, Jake LaMotta.” pic.twitter.com/xKHzh8Wvg1
— Boxing History (@BoxingHistory) September 20, 2017
— Mr. Terrific ™ (@RealMrTerrific) September 20, 2017
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