The heavyweight’s promotion company Bellator confirmed the death on Monday night, saying that the Bahamas-born bruiser was “one of the most popular MMA fighters ever.”
“Kimbo was a charismatic, larger-than-life personality that transcended the sports,” Bellator president Scott Coker said in a statement.
Slice, whose real name was Kevin Ferguson, was taken to Northwest Medical Center near his home in Coral Springs, Fla., on Monday evening, the city’s police confirmed to the Daily News.
Details are still thin on how the fighter died. Coral Springs Police Department’s’ Sgt. Carla Kmiotek told the News that there was no police investigation into the incident and that it had been a “medical issue.”
Slice first rose to fame when his unsanctioned South Florida street brawls made him a popular search on YouTube during the site’s early days.
The 6-foot-2, 232-pound fighter then spent time in the Ultimate Fighting Championship promotion company, before taking a break from MMA that included boxing and an acting stint in 2012’s “The Scorpion King 3.”
Slice joined up with Bellator in 2015 and improved his MMA record to 5-2 with a win last year. He won his last bout against Dhafir “Dada 5000” Harris in February, though the heavyweight tested positive for steroids and the result was overturned to a no-contest.
Before his death, he had been scheduled to fight James Thompson in London on July 16.
Colleagues and fans of Slice’s ferocious style paid tribute to the fighter on Monday night.
Coker said that “outside of the cage he was a friendly, gentle giant and a devoted family man.”
American Top Team, which claimed him as one of its fighters, said that he was devoted to providing for his six children.
“The ATT Family and South Florida community lost a legend today. RIP Kimbo,” it said on Twitter.
Ken Shamrock, who Slice beat last year, said, “We battled inside the cage, warrior vs warrior. Outside the have loved ones. REST IN PEACE KIMBO SLICE. May God Watch Over You.”