BREAKING,

Simpson died this week after a battle with cancer, his family announced in a statement on social media.

OJ Simpson, a former United States football star acquitted of murder in a widely watched trial in the 1990s, has died at age 76.

In a statement shared on social media on Thursday morning, Simpson’s family said he died on Wednesday after a battle with cancer.

“He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren. During this time of transition, his family asks that you please respect their wishes for privacy and grace,” the statement said.

US media outlets reported in February that Simpson was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.

Known by the nickname “The Juice”, Simpson was a star running back at the University of Southern California.

He won the Heisman Trophy — the top honour in American college football — in 1968 before making the jump to the National Football League (NFL) a year later as the Buffalo Bills’ number-one draft pick.

He played 11 seasons of professional American football and racked up numerous accolades.

But Simpson became a controversial figure after he was charged with the stabbing deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in 1994.

He was ordered to surrender to police, but five days after the killings, he fled in his white Ford Bronco with a former teammate and led police in a slow-speed chase through Los Angeles.

OJ Simpson and defense attorney F Lee Bailey, left, consult with each other during Simpson’s double-murder trial in Los Angeles, June 30, 1995 [File: Reed Saxon/Pool via AP Photo]

Simpson’s months-long trial — dubbed the “trial of the century” — was televised and drew widespread media attention in the US and around the world.

His acquittal in 1995 also divided the country: Some Americans viewed it as a miscarriage of justice, while others believed he was unfairly targeted by a racist police force.

This is a developing story. More to follow.

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