Troubled boxing champion Johnny Tapia dies at age 45

Boxer Johnny Tapia poses during a weigh-in in Las Vegas in this November 1, 2002 file photo. Tapia was found dead at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico on May 27 according to authorities. (REUTERS/Steve Marcus/Files)

SANTA FE, N.M.: Five-time world boxing champion Johnny Tapia was found dead in his Albuquerque, New Mexico, home at the age of 45, officials said on Monday.

Tapia, who was as renowned for his cocaine use and traumatic childhood as he was for his boxing talent, was found dead late Sunday night, police said. The cause of death was not yet known.

Albuquerque police were called to Tapia's house late Sunday, where they found the boxer unconscious, said Albuquerque Police spokesman Robert Gibbs. He later died.

Brandishing a tattoo of his alias - Mi Vida Loca, or "My Crazy Life" - Tapia rose to prominence in the late 80s, and eventually won five world boxing championships in three weight classes: super flyweight, bantamweight, and featherweight.

His final professional boxing record was 59 wins, five losses, and two draws. Thirty of his wins were knock-outs.

In 2007 he planned a comeback bout against Ilido Julio dubbed "The Final Fury." A month later he was found unconscious of a cocaine overdose and was eventually taken into custody for violating his parole stemming from a prior cocaine offense.

Tapia was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His father was murdered when his mother was pregnant with him, and his mother was later brutally murdered when he was 8 years old.





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