OJ Simpson has died of cancer aged 76, his family has said in a statement. News of his passing was announced on social media by his children.

The statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, reads: "On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren.

"During this time of transition, his family asks that you please respect their wishes for privacy and grace." His death has made headlines worldwide, but who was OJ Simpson and how did he become famous?

Who was OJ Simpson and how did he become famous?

Simpson, born on July 9, 1947, was a former NFL star and professional football player. He was named All-American in 1967, played in two Rose Bowl games and won the Heisman Trophy as the best collegiate player of the season in 1968.

From 1969 to 1979, he was a running back for the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers. He was well-known for his speed and elusiveness. He retired after the 1979 season.

Following his retirement, Simpson became a sports commentator. He also had stints as a film and television actor.

He went on to become one of the most notorious figures in American history by the mid-1990s. In 1994 he was arrested and charged with the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

He pleaded not guilty and his team of lawyers included Robert Kardashian - Kim Kardashian's father. His trial was televised and gained mass media and public attention.

He was acquitted by the jury in October 1995. However, in a separate civil trial decision in 1997, he was found liable for their deaths and was ordered to pay £26.7million pounds to the victims of the families.

A few years later, Simpson teamed up with Pablo F. Fenjves to write a book called 'If I Did It'. In it, he hypothesised how he would have committed the murders.

Due to huge public outrage, publication of the book was prevented in 2006. But, in 2007, the work was released after a bankruptcy court awarded the book’s rights to the Goldman family.

Fast forward to 2017, he was released from prison after serving nine years of a 33-year sentence for armed robbery and kidnapping having been arrested in Las Vegas a decade earlier.