Former Champion Boxer Pernell Whitaker Dead at 55: Reports

July 15, 2019 Updated: July 15, 2019

Former multi-weight boxing champion Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, considered a master of defensive boxing, was killed on July 14.

According to TMZ, he was hit by a car in Virginia Beach. He was 55.

Officials got a call at around 10 p.m. in response to an accident near Northampton Boulevard and Baker Road.

Police arrived on the scene, and they found a man who was hit by a vehicle. News outlets, including TMZ and local news outlet WTKR, said it was Whitaker.

Whitaker was a four-weight boxing champion and an Olympic gold medalist, the report said.

WTKR reported that the driver of the vehicle that allegedly hit the former boxer stayed on the scene of the crash and is cooperating with authorities.

“I guess he was wearing dark clothes, the road was dark and the driver didn’t see him,” Devon Whitaker, his 23-year-old son, told Pilotonline.com. He added that his father was a “cool guy.”

“That’s all I can say about him,” he continued. “I can’t really say how I’m feeling because I’m feeling shocked. I’m still trying to process everything that’s going on. But he was a cool guy.”

The report said he frequented Wareing’s Gym in Virginia Beach.

“He was a legacy here,” said Jake Wareing. “I grew up watching him all the time.”

He said he would stop in the gym and give motivational talks.

Whittaker was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006, and he is considered one of the greatest boxers ever.

Whitaker had a professional record of 40 wins (17 by knockout), four losses, and a draw. He retired in 2001.

Celebrities Lost in 2019

Peggy Lipton

Actress Peggy Lipton, who starred in David Lynch’s iconic show “Twin Peaks,” and the 1960s show “The Mob Squad,” died on May 11 at the age of 72.

The cause of death was cancer.

peggy lipton and family
Actress Rashida Jones (C) poses with her father Quincy Jones and her mother Peggy Lipton, at the premiere of “Celeste and Jesse Forever” at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on Jan. 20, 2012. Lipton died of cancer at age 72. (Danny Moloshok/AP Photo, File)

Nipsey Hussle

Rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot dead at the age of 33 in South Los Angeles on March 31.

Nipsey Hussle and Lauren London in Los Angeles, on Feb. 7, 2019. The rapper was shot dead in late March. (Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images)

Luke Perry

Actor Luke Perry died from a stroke on March 4.

Undated file photo of Luke Perry. (Newsmakers)

John Singleton

Iconic “Boyz N The Hood” director and the youngest ever Oscar nominee for best picture died after spending days in a coma following a stroke.

director John Singleton portrait
John Singleton at the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, Calif., on March 4, 2018. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Peter Tork

Peter Tork of the Monkees died at 77 in February 2019. (Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)

Albert Finney

British actor Albert Finney died in February 2019 at the age of 82. (Lucy Nicholson/AFP/Getty Images)

James Ingram

Longtime R&B singer James Ingram died in late January. Quincy Jones, a collaborator of his, wrote, “With that soulful, whisky sounding voice, James Ingram was simply magical … every beautiful note that James sang pierced your essence and comfortably made itself at home.”

Singer James Ingram died at the age of 66 after a battle with brain cancer, according to reports on Jan. 29. (Getty Images)

Freddie Starr

Celebrity comedian Freddie Starr died aged 76 at his home in Spain, according to reports.

The body of the British-born funnyman was reportedly discovered by a caregiver at his apartment in Mijas on the Costa del Sol on May 9, the Mirror reported.

Starr had been ill.

A neighbor, who asked not to be named, told the Mirror: “His carer found him dead in his chair at around 3:30 p.m. Police arrived first and then later an ambulance arrived and he was taken away.

“His next door neighbor, who is a nurse, said he was definitely dead. She said she thinks he may have suffered a heart attack.”

Freddie Starr at an awards ceremony
Legendary comedian Freddie Starr at the British Comedy Awards at Fountain Studios in London, on Dec. 16, 2011. (Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)

Kelly Jobanputra

BBC Radio 6 music presenter Kelly Jobanputra, of Swindon in southwest England, died on April 26, according to the Swindon Advertiser. She was tragically struck and killed by a train, according to reports.

The celebrity radio host had just turned 40 in April, The Sun reported, and last year had given birth to her second child.

Kelly Jobanputra
Kelly Jobanputra poses for a photograph she posted on Twitter on March 31, 2019. (@KelJobanputra/Twitter)

Fatima Ali

“Top Chef” alum Fatima Ali died on Jan. 25, after a battle with terminal cancer. She was 29.

Former “Top Chef” contestant Bruce Kalman paid tribute to her: “It’s with a heavy heart we say goodbye to Fatima Ali today, as she has lost her battle with cancer,” he wrote.

“Top Chef” star Fatima Ali died at the age of 29 after battling a form of bone cancer, said her family. (Instagram)

Carol Channing

broadway 3
Carol Channing, whose career spanned decades on Broadway and on television, died at age 97. Publicist B. Harlan Boll said Channing died of natural causes early in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on Jan. 15, 2019. (Jim Cole/AP Photo, File)

Bob Einstein

Premiere Of HBO's "Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind" - Arrivals
Bob Einstein in Hollywood, Calif., on June 27, 2018. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Comedian and actor Bob Einstein died on Jan. 2 after a battle with cancer. He was 76.

Daryl Dragon

Daryl ‘The Captain’ Dragon beside his ex-wife, Toni Tennille, wearing his signature captain’s hat. (Hillel Italie/AP)

Daryl Dragon, or “Captain,” of pop group Captain and Tennille, died on Jan. 2 of renal failure.

Correction: Headline and article have been updated to reflect the current condition of Michael Sleggs

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