Kimbo Slice, whose signature long beard and aggressive mixed martial arts fighting style made him an internet sensation, died Monday. He was 42.
Slice, whose real name is Kevin Ferguson, was taken from his home near Coral Springs, Florida, to Northwest Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for undisclosed reasons. Though a cause of death has yet to be confirmed, multiple reports said Slice suffered heart failure. Police said no foul play was involved.
Sgt. Carla Kmiotek told CNN there were no police or EMS calls to Slice's residence before he was hospitalized.
"We are all shocked and saddened by the devastating untimely loss of Kimbo Slice, a beloved member of the Bellator family," Scott Coker, the CEO of Bellator, said in a statement.
"One of the most popular MMA fighters ever, Kimbo was a charismatic, larger-than-life personality that transcended the sport.
"Outside of the cage he was a friendly, gentle giant and a devoted family man. His loss leaves us all with extremely heavy hearts, and our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Ferguson family and all of Kimbo's friends, fans and teammates."
Slice rose to fame in 2003 after online videos surfaced of him defeating all comers in unsanctioned backyard fights. However, it took four years for Slice to make it to the octagon, fighting under EliteXC in 2007 and eventually appearing on UFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter” program in 2009.
Born in the Bahamas but raised in South Florida, Slice last fought and beat Dada 5000 at Bellator 149 in February, earning a technical knockout, but the win was overturned after Slice tested positive for a steroid.
An intimidating, almost hulk-like figure in the ring, the 6-foot-2 234-pound Slice achieved perhaps the biggest victory of his career last year when he picked up a TKO of UFC legend Ken Shamrock at Bellator 138. Slice owned a 5-2-1 MMA record with three KOs, and was a perfect 7-0 (6 KOs) as a boxer.