Mixed Martial Arts fighter Kimbo Slice died of heart failure Monday at age 42, Bellator MMA has confirmed.
The bare knuckle backyard brawler-turned-professional MMA fighter was pronounced dead at a South Florida hospital, where he was taken after collapsing at his home Monday.
"We are all shocked and saddened by the devastating and untimely loss of Kimbo Slice, a beloved member of the Bellator family," Bellator president Scott Coker said in a statement.
“One of the most popular MMA fighters ever, Kimbo was a charismatic, larger-than-life personality that transcended the sport.”
Coker added: "Outside of the cage he was a friendly, gentle giant and a devoted family man. His loss leaves us all with extremely heavy hearts, and our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Ferguson family and all of Kimbo's friends, fans, and teammates."
Slice, whose real name is Kevin Ferguson, was rumored to abuse anabolic steroids to bulk up quickly and give him an edge over the competition.
According to published reports, Slice tested positive for anabolic steroids and had an elevated testosterone ratio following his last fight in February. His victory over Dhafir Harris, aka Dada5000, was changed to a no-contest by the Texas commission.
Anabolic steroids (mostly testosterone) boosts blood pressure, which in turn weakens and enlarges the heart muscle, leading to heart failure and sudden death.
Congestive heart failure (and enlarged heart) causes a gradual decrease in the heart's ability to pump blood out to the brain and body. Fluid backs up and collects in the lungs, causing difficulty breathing.
Causes of heart failure includes heart attack, prolonged drug use, high blood pressure and heart valve disease.
The key symptoms are chest pain (sometimes radiating down the left arm), chest pressure, weakness and shortness of breath.
Anabolic steroids is the leading cause of cardiovascular/heart disease in young male athletes.