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O.J. Simpson, Football Star Whose Trial Riveted the Nation, Dies at 76

O.J. Simpson, Football Star Whose Trial Riveted the Nation, Dies at 76

In 1967, Mr. Simpson married his high school sweetheart, Marguerite Whitley. The couple had three children, Arnelle, Jason and Aaren. Shortly after their divorce in 1979, Aaren, 23 months old, fell into a swimming pool at home and died a week later.

Mr. Simpson married Nicole Brown in 1985; the couple had a daughter, Sydney, and a son, Justin. He is survived by Arnelle, Jason, Sydney and Justin Simpson and three grandchildren, his lawyer, Malcolm P. LaVergne, said.

After being released from prison in Nevada in 2017, Mr. Simpson moved into the Las Vegas country club home of a wealthy friend, James Barnett, for what he assumed would be a temporary stay. But he found himself enjoying the local golf scene and making friends, sometimes with people who introduced themselves to him at restaurants, Mr. LaVergne said. Mr. Simpson decided to remain in Las Vegas full time. At his death, he lived right on the course of the Rhodes Ranch Golf Club.

Mr. Simpson was a natural on the gridiron. He had dazzling speed, power and finesse in a broken field that made him hard to catch, let alone tackle. He began his collegiate career at San Francisco City College, scoring 54 touchdowns in two years. In his third year he transferred to Southern Cal, where he shattered records — rushing for 3,423 yards and 36 touchdowns in 22 games — and led the Trojans into the Rose Bowl in successive years. He won the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s best college football player of 1968. Some magazines called him the greatest running back in the history of the college game.

His professional career was even more illustrious, though it took time to get going. The No. 1 draft pick in 1969, Mr. Simpson went to the Buffalo Bills — the league’s worst team had the first pick — and was used sparingly in his rookie season; in his second, he was sidelined with a knee injury. But by 1971, behind a line known as the Electric Company because they “turned on the Juice,” he began breaking games open.

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