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From the criminal justice system to race relations and beyond, the death of football legend-turned-acquitted murderer O.J. Simpson has placed a spotlight on a number of issues.

But perhaps none of them are as immediately urgent to Black people as Simpson’s cause of death — prostate cancer, which is a disproportionate killer, particularly of Black men.

The man born as Orenthal James Simpson died at 76 on Wednesday, his family confirmed fewer than two months after it was revealed he was undergoing chemotherapy for the curable illness.

But it was unclear how far advanced Simpson’s prostate cancer was when it was first detected, a key factor in being able to successfully treat the disease.

Black men are 70% more likely to develop prostate cancer in their lifetime and twice as likely to die from the disease, according to The Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center. Delays between screening, diagnosis and treatment often contribute to the huge health disparity.

“The higher risk may be related to social and environmental issues involving nutrition, access to health care, and exposure to environmental pollutants,” Vincent Laudone, MSK’s Chief of Surgery at the Josie Robertson Surgery Center says. “Disparities in outcomes also can be affected by differences in when the cancer is diagnosed and how the men are treated after diagnosis.”

Many Black men may refrain from undergoing prostate cancer screening due to a combination of factors, including fear and mistrust of the healthcare system, lack of insurance, and insufficient knowledge about prostate treatment and screening, according to the American Cancer Association. The screening process can be daunting and uncomfortable for some patients if they are selected to undergo a Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) which is when a healthcare provider examines the rectum to check for abnormal growth and inflammation, but screenings and early prevention can save lives.

In recent months, U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin emerged as an example of what can happen when prostate cancer gets detected early. Despite a small controversy over how he kept his cancer diagnosis private, Austin, 70, urged Americans and particularly Black people to take steps to ensure their health. He also said that he had regrets for not being more vocal about his diagnosis and pointed to data showing how many other Black and aging men face the same health challenges.


U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testifies during a House Committee on Armed Services hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on February 29, 2024, to examine the circumstances of the failure to communicate his absence during his recent hospitalization. | Source: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / Getty

“I was being treated for prostate cancer. The news shook me, and I know that it shakes so many others, especially in the Black community,” Austin said in February. “It was a gut punch, and frankly my first instinct was to keep it private.”

He continued: “I was diagnosed with a highly treatable form of cancer, a pretty common one. One in eight American men will get prostate cancer, one in six Black men will get it. And so I’m here with a clear message to other men, especially older men: Get screened, get your regular check-ups, prostate cancer has a glass jaw. If your doctor can spot it, they can treat it and beat it.”

Austin was one of the lucky ones, as there have already been this year a number of high profile Black people who have died from the disease.

Scroll down and keep reading to find a growing list of notable Black people who have not only been diagnosed with prostate cancer but have also died because of it.

The post O.J. Simpson And Other Notable Black People Who Died From Prostate Cancer appeared first on NewsOne.

O.J. Simpson And Other Notable Black People Who Died From Prostate Cancer  was originally published on

1. Stokely Carmichael

Stokely Carmichael Source:Getty

Civil rights organizer Stokely Carmichael, who later in life became known as Kwame Ture, died of prostate cancer in 1998. He was 57.

“The cause was prostate cancer, for which Mr. Ture had been treated at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York in the last two years,” the New York Times reported in an obituary. “He once said his cancer ”was given to me by forces of American imperialism and others who conspired with them.'”

2. Eldridge Cleaver

Eldridge Cleaver Source:Getty

Writer, activist and Black Panthers leader Eldridge Cleaver died in 1998 of prostate cancer. He was 62.


3. Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes Source:Getty

Harlem Renaissance poet and writer Langston Hughes died in 1965 following surgery for prostate cancer. He was 65. 

4. Dexter Scott King

Dexter Scott King Source:Getty

Dexter Scott King, the youngest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, died on Jan. 22, 2024, after a “valiant battle with prostate cancer,” according to representatives from the King Center. The civil rights activist and attorney was 62 years old.

5. Joe Madison

Joe Madison Source:Getty

Joe Madison, the award-winning radio legend and social activist also known as “The Black Eagle” whose eponymous live morning show helped bring attention to pressing human and civil rights issues, died on Feb. 1, 2024, following a yearslong battle with prostate cancer.

Madison was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009. It went into remission following treatment. But he announced in late 2023 that the cancer had returned.

6. Floyd Patterson

Floyd Patterson Source:Getty

Floyd Patterson, a legendary boxer who once held the world heavyweight championship for six years and notably fought Muhammad Ali twice, died of prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease in 2006. He was 71.

7. Harold Pierce

Harold Pierce, who in 1950 founded the famous Harold’s Chicken Shack franchise of restaurants in Chicago that went on to have dozens of locations nationally, died in 1988. Prostate cancer was ultimately revealed to have caused his death. He was 70.

8. Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier Source:Getty

Sidney Poitier, the first Black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, died in 2022 from prostate cancer combined with heart failure and dementia.

Poitier beat the cancer back in 1994, but it apparently returned later in life.

“I was happiest making films, writing books, and surviving prostate cancer,” Poitier said in an interview with Vanity Fair in 2007.

9. William Raspberry

William Raspberry Source:Getty

William Raspberry, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who made a name for himself as one of the few Black reporters at The Washington Post beginning in the 1960s, died from prostate cancer in 2012. He was 76.

10. Earl Woods

Earl Woods Source:Getty

Earl Woods, the father of golf superstar Tiger Woods, died of prostate cancer in 2006. He was 74.

“Earl Woods was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998 and underwent radiation treatment,” the Los Angeles Times reported in an obituary. “He told reporters in September 2004 that the cancer had returned and spread throughout his body. He later revealed to close friends that the cancer had affected his brain and spine.