Former multi-weight boxing champion Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, considered a master of defensive boxing, was killed on July 14.
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.
— TMZ (@TMZ) July 15, 2019
“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.
— Frankie O’Connor (@Frankie_OConn) July 15, 2019
“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.
I’m absolutely crushed to say this: RIP Pernell Whitaker. it was an absolute honor to watch you, my bro. the most gifted fighter I ever had the pleasure to watch. we will NEVER forget you. inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ pic.twitter.com/fcvFrky2Gd
— The Sicilian Shooter (Saifullah) (@vinnie_paz) July 15, 2019
Whitaker had a professional record of 40 wins (17 by knockout), four losses, and a draw. He retired in 2001.
Celebrities Lost in 2019
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.
Rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot dead at the age of 33 in South Los Angeles on March 31.
Actor Luke Perry died from a stroke on March 4.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
“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.
Comedian and actor Bob Einstein died on Jan. 2 after a battle with cancer. He was 76.
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