Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the boxer wrongfully convicted of murder in 1966 and the titular character Denzel Washington portrayed in the 1999 motion picture The Hurricane, has died at the age of 76.
John Artis, a longtime friend and caregiver, told The Canadian Press that Carter died in his sleep Sunday. Carter had been stricken with prostate cancer in Toronto, the New Jersey native’s adopted home.
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was 27-12-1 with 19 knockouts before being wrongfully convicted for murder in 1967 and again in 1976 before being freed in 1985.
Carter spent 19 years in prison for three murders at a tavern in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1966. He was convicted alongside Artis in 1967 and again in a new trial in 1976.
Carter was freed in November 1985 when his convictions were set aside after years of appeals and public advocacy. His ordeal and the alleged racial motivations behind it were publicized in Bob Dylan’s 1975 song “Hurricane,” several books and a 1999 film starring Denzel Washington, who received an Academy Award nomination for playing the boxer turned prisoner.
Carter’s murder convictions abruptly ended the boxing career of a former petty criminal who became an undersized middleweight contender largely on ferocity and punching power.
Rest in power, Mr. Carter. Listen to the Dylan song below.