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Bellator MMA's Kimbo Slice dies in Florida hospital

Popular MMA fighter and former backyard brawler Kimbo Slice has passed away in a Florida hospital at the age of 42.

MMA: Bellator 149-Slice vs Dada 5000 Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

MMA heavyweight Kimbo Slice (real name: Kevin Ferguson) passed away in a Coral Springs, Florida hospital on Monday night. Following numerous rumors/reports, his gym, American Top Team, confirmed the news. Bellator MMA president Scott Coker released a statement on the passing of Slice:

"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."

Early Monday evening, Slice was hospitalized according to a report from TMZ. His cause of death hasn't been confirmed at this time. He was 42-years-old.

Slice most recently fought for Bellator MMA, coming off a TKO win over Dada 5000 at Bellator 149 this past February. The Florida-native finished legend Ken Shamrock in his return to active mixed martial arts competition last year, also under the Bellator MMA banner. The heavyweight fighter tested positive for banned substances in a pre-fight drug test prior to the Dada 5000 bout, which turned the result into a no-contest. He was scheduled to headline next month's Bellator 158 card in London against James Thompson.

Slice's rise to fame came in 2003 when he posted unsanctioned, outdoor "backyard brawls" on video websites including YouTube. He left the streetfight scene a few years later and began training in MMA in 2005, and debuted in 2007. He was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter in 2009, and fought twice for the UFC before making his return to mixed martial arts competition in 2015. Slice's pro MMA record was 5-2, 1 NC, with an undefeated 7-0 boxing record.

Rest in peace, Kimbo Slice.

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