The fight is finally over for the champ. Jake LaMotta is dead. The boxer – who Robert De Niro portrayed in the Academy Award winning movie, ‘Raging Bull’ – died on Sept. 19. He was 95 years old.
He was a fighter to the very end. Jake LaMotta, 95, died on Sept. 19 in a nursing home due to complications from pneumonia, his wife tells TMZ. Jake, the former world middleweight boxing champion nicknamed “The Raging Bull,” had was a shell of his former self, as a family member tells TMZ that over the last few weeks, he had been put on a feeding tube (one that he kept pulling out.) As things turned for the worse in the days leading up to his death, a decision was made to withdraw the tube for good.
“I just want people to know, he was a great, sweet, sensitive, strong, compelling man with a great sense of humor [and] with eyes that danced,” his wife tells TMZ. Robert De Niro, 74, who portrayed Jake in Raging Bull, honored the boxer with a simple statement, per The Hollywood Reporter: “Rest in Peace, champ.” Jake will be remembered a s a champ, and one of the most iconic fighters to ever have stepped in the ring. After retiring in the mid-1950, Jake had a record of 83-19. He won the World Middleweight title on June 16, 1949, defeating Marcel Cerdan. He will also be remembered for his intense rivalry with Sugar Ray Robinson. Jake and Sugar Ray fought six times, and though Robins walked away with 5 victories, each fight was extremely close.
Giacobbe “Jake” LaMotta was born in New York City, and he became a professional boxer at the age of 19, according to Biography. Nicknamed the “Bronx Bull” for his explosive temper and his remarkable ability to absorb unusual amounts of punishment in the ring. Jake was also a remarkably smart fighter, luring his opponents into a trap before launching his attack. In 1951, Jake and Sugar Ray fought in a bout nicknamed the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,” as Robinson absolutely demolished LaMotta, landing punch after punch – but Jake refused to fall.
After leaving the boxing world, Jake penned an autobiography in 1970. Raging Bull: My Story revealed his insecurities, his jealousies and his history of violence towards women. In 1980, Martin Scorsese, 74, adapted the book into a movie, casting Robert De Niro, 74, as Jake. The movie won two Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Robert. The renewed interest in the “Raging Bull” led Jake to writing a second memoir. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. Jake married for the seventh time in early 2013. He suffered personal tragedy in 1998, when he lost two sons – Jack and Joseph – from his second marriage. Jack died of cancer while Joseph passed away seven months later in an airplane crash.
Our thoughts are with Jake’s family during this time of loss.