Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, has died at 76.
John Artis, a longtime friend and caregiver, said Carter died in his sleep on Sunday. Carter had been stricken with prostate cancer in Toronto, the New Jersey native's adopted home.
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.
Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter (C) poses with actor Denzel Washington (L) and boxing champion Evander Holyfield at the premier of the film The Hurricane in December, 1999. (Reuters Photo)
His ordeal and the alleged racial motivations behind it were publicised 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.
Although never a world champion, Carter went 27-12-1 with 19 knockouts, memorably stopping two-division champ Emile Griffith in the first round in 1963.
He also fought for a middleweight title in December 1964, losing a unanimous decision to Joey Giardello.
Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter (R), the former middleweight boxer, is escorted into federal court in Newark in November, 1985. (AP Photo)