Boxing fans were dealt a harsh blow on Saturday when Hector "Macho" Camacho, the Puerto Rican fighter famous for his headline-making matches against the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard and Julio Cesar Chavez, passed away at in San Juan at 50 years old. Camacho, known for his big fighting prowess despite his small size, was shot in the jaw Tuesday while sitting in a car outside a Puerto Rican bar with 49-year-old Adrian Mojica Moreno, who was killed in the attack. (Authorities say nine small bags of cocaine were found in Moreno's pocket.)
Though the boxer was initially expected to survive the attack, Camacho's injuries worsened — the bullet, which slowed blood flow to his brain after it hit three major arteries in the boxer's neck, caused Camacho's heart to stop for a short period while he was hospitalized. Camacho's family decided to take the boxer off life support Saturday.
Though Camacho — who moved from Puerto Rico to New York's Harlem neighborhood as a child, eventually earning the nickname "the Harlem Heckler" — hadn't fought since 2010, a rep for the boxer told reporters he was considering a 2013 comeback. Camacho's life had been troubled in recent years — the boxer's wife not only filed multiple domestic abuse complaints against Camacho, but Camacho was also sentenced to seven years in prison for burglary in 2007. (A judge eventually suspended six years of the sentence to one year and placed Camacho on probation.) Camacho also struggled with drugs and alcohol throughout his career.
"The Macho Man was a promoter's dream," Don King told the Associated Press. "He excited boxing fans around the world with his inimitable style. He was a nice, amiable guy away from the ring."
[Image Credit: Getty Images]
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The 50-year-old sportsman was admitted to the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan on Tuesday (20Nov12) after he was shot in the head while sitting in a parked car outside a bar in his hometown of Bayamon.
Doctors declared him clinically brain dead on Thursday (22Nov12) and he remained on life-support until he suffered a cardiac arrest early on Saturday morning (24Nov12).
He was subsequently take off the life-support machine and died shortly afterwards. An investigation has been launched into the shooting, which also killed 49-year-old Adrian Mojica Moreno, who died at the scene.
Camacho took up boxing as a teenager and after success as an amateur, he rose to fame in the 1980s, winning the Super Featherweight Champion and Lightweight Champion World Boxing Council titles. He was also crowned the World Boxing Organization's Light Welterweight Champion twice in 1989 and 1991.
During his long career in the ring, he fought some of the sport's most high-profile stars, including Sugar Ray Leonard, Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya and Roberto Duran.
However, his sporting career was overshadowed by personal problems, including drug addiction and a 2007 conviction for the burglary of a computer store in Mississippi.
He hit headlines again this year (12) following his arrest on child abuse charges. Camacho turned himself in to police in Florida following an incident with his young son last year (11), when he was accused of stomping on the youngster during an altercation at his ex-wife's home.
Camacho survived a previous shooting in 2011 when he was injured in an attempted car-jacking.
Legends from the world of boxing have taken to Twitter.com to pay tribute to Camacho following his death.
In a post, Mike Tyson writes, "RIP Hector Camacho. Condolences to the Camacho family", while Sugar Ray Leonard adds, "My prayers and heart goes out to Camacho's family! God Bless."
Lennox Lewis laments, "RIP Hector 'Macho' Camacho. You will be missed. Prayers and condolences go out to his family. tragic."
Rapper LL Cool J revealed a personal link to the fighter, stating, "Rip Macho Camacho. When I was a kid you took a pic (picture) with my mother. I always respected that. I pray your family will make it through w/ (with) grace."
Comedian George Lopez told fans, "LIVE your life, Cause in the end it's always MACHO TIME. R I P Hector Camacho", while TV presenter/actor Mario Lopez added, "RIP... Hector 'Macho' Camacho. Great fighter & colorful character. Some of the best ring entrances ever.. Funky & cool."