Kevin Ferguson -- the mixed martial artist and boxer better known as Kimbo Slice -- died on Monday at age 42.
Multiple sources have confirmed that Slice passed away after being admitted to a hospital near his home in Coral Springs, Florida. According to a Facebook post from an associate of Slice’s named Tyler Cook, the fighter’s death was related to heart problems.
The ATT Family and South Florida community lost a legend today. RIP Kimbo. pic.twitter.com/sjs8ctyJMd— American Top Team (@AmericanTopTeam) June 7, 2016
A native of the Bahamas who moved to Florida as a child, Slice gained internet fame in 2003 when videos of his unsanctioned Miami street fights began to surface on YouTube and other video-sharing websites. Slice parlayed the notoriety from his boatyard brawls into an MMA career, turning pro in 2007 under the banner of the now-defunct EliteXC organization. He would open his professional record with three straight knockouts against the likes of Tank Abbott and James Thompson, but Slice’s career was derailed in October 2008 when he suffered a shocking knockout loss to late replacement Seth Petruzelli.
Slice competed on Season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter” but was eliminated by Roy Nelson in the reality show’s preliminary round. He would fight twice for the UFC, defeating Houston Alexander and losing to Matt Mitrione, after which he was released by the organization.
After embarking on a boxing career and spending more than five years away from mixed martial arts, Slice returned to the cage in June 2015 to defeat Ken Shamrock in the main event of Bellator 138. Slice would fight for the final time in February, defeating another Miami brawler, Dhafir “Dada 5000” Harris, in a matchup which was ultimately ruled a no-contest after Slice tested positive for steroids.
Slice leaves behind a fiancée and six children.
Update, 8:47 p.m. PT - Bellator MMA President Scott Coker has released the following statement:
“We are all shocked and saddened by the devastating and untimely loss of Kimbo Slice, a beloved member of the Bellator family. One of the most popular MMA fighters ever, Kimbo was a charismatic, larger-than-life personality that transcended the sport. Outside of the cage he was a friendly, gentle giant and a devoted family man. His loss leaves us all with extremely heavy hearts, and our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Ferguson family and all of Kimbo's friends, fans, and teammates.”
RIP kimbo was a real dude real humble my prayers with his fam— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) June 7, 2016