'I couldn't catch my breath':  O.J. Simpson on fearing for his life when he had COVID-19

OJ Simpson - 133rd Kentucky Derby - Derby Day - May 5, 2007
OJ Simpson - 133rd Kentucky Derby - Derby Day - May 5, 2007
David Barry Gear

Infamous former NFL running back O.J. Simpson suffered a near-death experience while he battled COVID-19 last year.

The 74-year-old convicted felon had a serious issue catching his breath and thought he may die from the virus that has killed over four million people worldwide.

Simpson recently sat down with The Athletic to talk about his battle with COVID-19.

"When I had COVID, I almost couldn't get out of bed," Simpson said. "I made it to my balcony, trying to breathe. I couldn't catch my breath."

Simpson said his symptoms were so bad that he talked to his children about funeral arrangements.

"I felt vulnerable, and for the first time thought I might be near the end," he added.

O.J. Simpson is enjoying life out of prison

Simpson eventually recovered from the virus and is grateful for the opportunity to enjoy his time out of prison in Las Vegas.

“The Juice” said he now golfs "four or five days a week", and is proud that he's still treated like a celebrity.

"People want to buy me drinks," he said. "I'm always taking pictures with people. Ladies hug me. People truly care for me," he continued. "You don’t know who truly cares about you until you've gone through some serious stuff, and I've gone through serious stuff. The media won’t say it, but that is my life. I'm living a good life now."

O.J. Simpson's prison time

After avoiding life imprisonment for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman in 1995, O.J. Simpson was eventually imprisoned in 2007 for robbery.

The former NFL player, broadcaster and actor was charged and convicted of multiple felonies, including armed robbery and kidnapping.

O.J. Simpson was sentenced to a minimum of nine years and a maximum of 33 years in prison. He ended up serving just nine years at Lovelock Correctional Center in Las Vegas and was released on parole on October 1, 2017.

O.J. Simpson NFL career statistics and records

Games - 135

Rushing attempts - 2,404

Rushing yards - 11,236

Rushing average yards per carry - 4.7

Rushing touchdowns - 61

Fastest player to gain 1,000 rushing yards in season: 1,025 in seven games in 1973.

Fastest player to gain 2,000 rushing yards in season: 2,003 in 14 games in 1973.

Most rushing yards per game in a season: 143.1 per game in 1973.

Edited by Arvind Sriram


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