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Tyson's daughter dies after accident in home

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The Canadian Press
5/26/2009 9:42:28 PM
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PHOENIX -- The four-year-old daughter of boxer Mike Tyson died at a hospital Tuesday, a day after her neck apparently got caught in a treadmill cord at her Phoenix home, police said.

Exodus Tyson was pronounced dead just before noon, police Sgt. Andy Hill said. She had been on life support and police have said their investigation showed her injury on Monday was a "tragic accident."

"There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Exodus," the family said in a statement. "We ask you now to please respect our need at this very difficult time for privacy to grieve and try to help each other heal."

Police said Exodus either slipped or put her head in the loop of a cord hanging under the console. Her seven-year-old brother found her and told their mother.

She took Exodus off the cord, called 911 and tried to revive her.

Responding officers and firefighters performed CPR as they took the girl to the hospital.

Former heavyweight champion Tyson was in Las Vegas at the time of the accident and flew Monday to Phoenix, where he was seen entering the hospital.

The family's home is in a modest, quiet neighbourhood. Neighbours say they saw Tyson there from time to time and the children played outside regularly.

Dinka Radic, who lives across the street, said Exodus would ask her if she had any chocolate. When Radic gave her some, Exodus would hug the woman's knees and "kiss, kiss, kiss."

"She'd say 'hi' to everybody. She was really friendly," said Abdul Khalik, 53, who lives next door.

He said Exodus rode her bicycle in the neighbourhood and often played with his two children and his niece. He said his 14-year-old daughter had cried all day after hearing of Exodus' death.

Ben Brodhurst, 20, who lives across the street, said Exodus and her family went trick-or-treating at his house the last couple of Halloweens. She was "very lively, very enjoyable to be around," he said.

The neighbourhood contrasts starkly with the lavish lifestyle Tyson had through his tumultuous years of boxing, when he spent tens of millions of dollars and says he had millions more stolen from him by unscrupulous associates.

During two years at the height of his career, he earned US$140 million.

The death of his child in such an unusual accident adds an awful chapter to the boxer's troubled life.

Tyson first began boxing in a facility for juvenile delinquents in upstate New York at the age of 12.

Eight years later, he became the youngest heavyweight champion ever when he knocked out Trevor Berbick in 1986.

In 1990, he was defeated by James (Buster) Douglas in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, and soon after was convicted of raping a beauty pageant contestant in Indianapolis.

Tyson, who still denies he raped the woman, served three years in prison.

A few years later, he served three months in jail for beating up two men after a minor car crash in suburban Washington.

As his career continued, so did his bizarre behaviour. He bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear during a boxing match and once threatened to eat the children of heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.

Although Tyson's children had lived in their unassuming neighbourhood for several years, he purchased a separate home in the upscale Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley in 2005 for US$2.1 million, selling it two years later for $2.3 million.

In November 2007, Tyson spent 24 hours in Maricopa County's "Tent City" jail after pleading guilty to one count of cocaine possession and one misdemeanour count of driving under the influence.

Police found the drug when they pulled over Tyson's car after he left a Scottsdale night club.

According to police, Tyson said after his arrest that he bought cocaine "whenever I can get my hands on it."

At Tyson's sentencing hearing, nearly a year after the arrest, his lawyer, David Chesnoff, said his client had taken 29 drug tests without a relapse and was attending Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

Tyson had become an example of how one overcomes problems with drugs, a violent past and poor upbringing, Chesnoff said.

"He's tried his hardest," his attorney said, "despite coming from almost impossible beginnings."

Mike Tyson (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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