'Rocky V' boxer Tommy Morrison dies at 44


LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 8: Sweat flies from the head of boxer George Foreman of the U.S. (L) as Tommy Morrison of the U.S. lands a punch during their 12-round match 07 June 1993.



Boxer Tommy Morrison, who was featured alongside Sylvester Stallone in the film "Rocky V", died Sunday at the age 44.

Morrison's former manager, Tony Holden, confirmed that his longtime friend died Sunday night at a Nebraska hospital. 

"It’s true," Holden told the Tulsa World. "He was with his wife Trisha when he passed."

"You prepare for things like this, and still you feel like you got hit by a truck when you hear the news," Holden told ESPN.

His family did not say the cause of his death but Morrison is known to have tested positive for HIV in 1996.

The heavyweight boxer was born in Arkansas but lived most of his life in Oklahoma. 

Morrison reached the top of the world heavyweight boxing ranks in 1993 by defeating George Foreman.

His star started to rise when he was cast in the 1990 movie "Rocky V."

Morrison played  "Tommy Gunn," a rookie boxer who is trained by Stallone's Rocky Balboa.

At the peak of his career in 1996, Morrison tested positive for HIV before a fight with Arthur Weathers.

In a televised news conference three days later, Morrison confirmed that new blood tests proved he had HIV.

But later he denied that he had HIV, the virus that carries AIDS. 

He was quoted by ESPN Magazine in 1998 as having said, "HIV's never been proven to cause AIDS. HIV ain't ever killed anybody."

Despite confusion over his diagnosis, Morrison became a spokesperson for AIDS awareness, creating the KnockOut AIDS Foundation.