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Kimbo Slice dead at 42, Bellator issues statement on one of 'most popular MMA fighters ever'

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Bellator MMA tonight (June 6, 2016) confirmed that Kevin Ferguson -- a.k.a. Kimbo Slice -- has indeed died after being rushed to a hospital in South Florida with an undisclosed "dire" medical emergency.

The mixed martial arts (MMA) organization issued the following formal statement:

"We are all shocked and saddened by the devastating and untimely loss of Kimbo Slice, a beloved member of the Bellator family. One of the most popular MMA fighters ever, Kimbo was a charismatic, larger-than-life personality that transcended the sport. 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 rose to stardom thanks to his days as a ferocious bareknuckle brawler in the mean streets of South Florida, with his grainy, raw violence a popular viewing attraction on He parlayed that viral success into an opportunity to compete on CBS under the Elite XC banner, as well as on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 and eventual shots in UFC and Bellator MMA.

In fact, earlier this year, Slice helped Spike TV set record ratings when he battled "Dada 5000" at Bellator 149, averaging two million viewers for the entire three-hour broadcast. That performance was marred, though, when it was revealed that "Dada 5000" apparently suffered "two heart attacks" as a result of the grueling match and later Slice failed his post-fight drug test. Nonetheless, Slice was scheduled to rematch James Thompson at Bellator 158 next month.

The father of six compiled a professional MMA record of 8-5 and a professional boxing record of 7-0.

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