Photo: Johnny Tapia
Police say five-time world boxing champion Johnny Tapia has been found dead by a family member at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Police spokesman Robert Gibbs says authorities were called to the house at about 7:45 p.m. on Sunday.
The 45-year-old Tapia won five championships in three weight classes, winning the WBA bantamweight title, the IBF and WBO junior bantamweight titles and the IBF featherweight belt.
But his career also was marked by cocaine addiction, alcohol, depression and run-ins with the law. He was hospitalized for three days in 2007 after an apparent cocaine overdose.
Tapia last fought in June, defeating Mauricio Pastrana in an eight-round decision. He finished with a 59-5-2 record.
Mr. Gibbs says the death doesn’t appear to be suspicious. He says an autopsy will be performed in the next few days.
Tapia is a 5-time world champ. His life was marked by tragedy. Tapia’s dad was murdered while his mom was pregnant with him. And when Tapia was 8, his mother was kidnapped, raped and hanged.
Tapia was admitted to the hospital in 2007 in critical condition from a cocaine OD. The day after he was admitted, his brother-in-law and nephew were killed in a car accident on their way to visit him.
Johnny Tapia wrote in his 2010 autobiography, Mi Vida Loca:
“My name is Johnny Lee Tapia. I was born on Friday the 13th. A Friday in February of 1967. To this day I don’t know if that makes me lucky or unlucky. When I was eight I saw my mother murdered. I never knew my father. He was murdered before I was born. I was raised as a pit bull. Raised to fight to the death. Four times I was declared dead. Four times they wanted to pull life support. And many more times I came close to dying.”