Former WBO heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison has died at the age of 44

Last Updated: 02/09/13 7:17pm

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Tommy Morrison: Career cut short by positive test for HIV

Tommy Morrison: Career cut short by positive test for HIV

Sky Bet

Former heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison has died at the age of 44.

The American reportedly passed away on Sunday night following a long battle against illness.

Morrison's career was brought to a shuddering halt in 1996 when he tested positive for HIV prior to a fight.

The 27-year-old later held a press conference admitting he had the virus and that his career was effectively over, but in recent years he denied that he was HIV-positive, fighting as recently as 2008.

However, his health reportedly declined with his wife claiming he was suffering from Miller Fisher Syndrome, a respiratory illness.

Morrison was a fearsome knockout artist, with 42 of his 48 wins coming via KO, but like many heavyweights was undermined by a weak chin.

The heavy-handed Ray Mercer burst his bubble with a vicious knockout in 1991 but 'the Duke' rebuilt and won the WBO title by defeating George Foreman via lop-sided decision less than two years later.

The reign did not last long though and in his second defence he was stopped for a second time in his career, by rookie Michael Bentt in the very first round.

Again he fought back, earning a do-or-die clash with Lennox Lewis, who at the time was also rebuilding his career after losing to Oliver McCall.

But Lewis battered his opponent in six one-sided rounds and just three months later Morrison tested positive.

During his peak Morrison also took on acting roles and featured in Rocky V as 'Tommy Gunn'.

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