It is a sad day in the world of entertainment. Jake LaMotta, the world famous boxer who inspired the film Raging Bull, has died at the age of 95.
An icon of sports, not just boxing, LaMotta was a world-renowned fighter and (later in life a) stand-up comedian. He died in a nursing home due to complications from pneumonia, his wife Denise confirmed early Wednesday morning.
According to TMZ, Jake’s condition deteriorated in the last few weeks. He was put on a feeding tube, which he kept pulling out. His condition worsened considerably in the last few days and a decision was made to withdraw the tube.
Jake’s wife tells 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.”
LaMotta’s life was a turbulent one both in the ring and out, all of which came to light when Raging Bull hit theaters in 1980. He was 83-19 in 106 professional fights — a career that began in 1941, after he was rejected from serving in the military due to a medical issue. He would eventually be crowned the world middleweight champion, but he will perhaps best be remembered for his six-fight rivalry with fellow legend Sugar Ray Leonard. LaMotta won just one of those bouts, but his drive and ferocity in each encounter continues to be discussed today.
You can view highlights from LaMotta’s career below:
In his later years, LaMotta moved to a small Arizona town named Bisbee. He was a neighbor to comedian Doug Stanhope, who shared the following story about meeting LaMotta at age 91 in a special:
Rest easy, Jake. You will be missed, but your legend will live on forever.
Never seen Raging Bull? Watch the trailer below: