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Published: 2014/04/20

Boxer Rubin Carter, Subject of Bob Dylan’s "Hurricane," Passes Away

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the boxer who was the subject of Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane,” passed away today following a battle with prostate cancer, USA Today confirmed. Carter was 76.

Carter and friend John Artis were charged with triple murder following a robbery at the Lafayette Grill in Paterson, NJ in 1966. Both men were found guilty of the murders, which were widely reported as racially motivated. Carter was sentenced to life in prison.

After a substantial amount of controversy arose from the case, including recanted testimonies and faulty evidence, Bob Dylan visited Carter in prison after having received a copy of his autobiography The Sixteenth Round: From Number 1 Contender to #45472. Following the visit, Dylan and producer Jacques Levy co-wrote “Hurricane,” which was performed during his Rolling Thunder Revue tour and appeared on Dylan’s Desire.

The connection between Dylan and Carter continued past the song, as the singer hosted two benefit concerts for Carter’s legal fund and even performed at Carter’s New Jersey prison in 1975. In 1976, the convictions were overturned following a recanted testimony from Alfred Bello, however both Carter and Artis were sentenced to eight years in prison after a second trial. A judge later overturned the second conviction.

Denzel Washington portrayed Carter in the 1999 film The Hurricane. As a boxer in the early ’60s, Carter made headlines for his aggressive style and power, ultimately earning him the nickname “Hurricane.” In his career, he recorded 27 wins, 12 losses and 1 draw in 40 total fights, with 19 TKO’s. He was later inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame.

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