The Virginia Beach Police Department said in a press release that the 55-year-old boxer, who had won gold medals and Olympic championships in four different categories, had been hit by a truck Sunday at an intersection at west of downtown Virginia Beach and declared dead on the scene.
According to the police, the driver of the vehicle remained on the scene after the accident, and the case is currently under investigation by the police team.
“The investigation is still ongoing,” police spokeswoman Linda Kuehn told US TODAY Sports in an email. “However, it has not been revealed that drugs / alcohol or speed are the causes of the accident.”
Whitaker’s youngest son, Devon, told the Virginian-Pilot on Monday morning that he thought his father “was wearing dark clothes, the road was dark and the driver had not seen him.”
Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, inducted into the 2006 International Boxing Hall of Fame, holds the record for the longest unified reign of the lightweight championship in the history of the sport with six titles.
In 1984, Whitaker represented the United States at the Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games. He won the gold medal in the lightweight competition by defeating Luis Ortiz. He also won a gold medal at the 1983 Panamerican Games in Caracas and a silver medal at the 1982 World Championships in Munich.
He finished his career 40-4-1 with 17 knockouts. He lost his last bout in technical playoffs against Carlos Boujorquez in 2001.
He leaves behind a woman and five children.