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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Edward Helmore

OJ Simpson to be cremated and no plans to donate brain to science, lawyer says

Man in courtroom wearing blue jail uniform
OJ Simpson pictured in 2008. He was sentenced to 33 years in prison in a robbery case in Las Vegas involving sporting memorabilia. Photograph: Isaac Brekken/AFP/Getty Images

A lawyer who represented OJ Simpson said there were no plans to donate the former NFL player’s brain to science and that his body would be cremated.

Simpson, who became the subject of an intense national debate in America after he was accused – and cleared – of the 1994 murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, died last week aged 76. He was later found liable for the two killings in a civil case.

Rumors circulated in recent days that Simpson’s brain would be used to study CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease sometimes diagnosed in former NFL players and believed to be a result of repeated collisions on the field.

Lawyer Malcolm LaVergne, now serving as the executor of Simpson’s estate, told NBC News that donating Simpson’s brain to CTE study was a “hard no”, adding: “His entire body, including his brain, will be cremated.”

LaVergne said there are tentative plans for a “celebration of life” limited to close friends and family, including his five children.

LaVergne also clarified comments he made to the Las Vegas Review-Journal in which he said he wanted the family of Ron Goldman to “get zero, nothing” from Simpson’s estate relating to a $33m civil judgment in 1997 that Simpson had “willingly and wrongfully” caused Goldman and Brown’s deaths.

LaVergne said he had been referring to a debt collector working for the Goldman family who, he said, “within an hour we announced Simpson’s death, is bashing Simpson and all this stuff … ‘We’re going to do this and that.’”

He acknowledged that his comment had been “pretty harsh”, and that as executor and representative of the Simpson family “it’s time to tone down the rhetoric”.

But LaVergne warned that Simpson owed money to the IRS and that many of his possessions, including footballs, jerseys and other sports memorabilia, had long ago been seized toward the 1997 judgement.

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