(Photo: AP Photo/Mario Suriani)
Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, the former professional boxer who spent nearly 20 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted for murder, died today after a long battle with prostate cancer. Carter was 76.
Carter's plight was dramatized, first by Bob Dylan's landmark song "Hurricane" in 1975, and then by Norman Jewison's 1999 film The Hurricane, which starred Denzel Washington as Carter and featured the now-famous quote: "Hate put me in prison. Love's gonna' bust me out."
In his post-prison life, Carter became an advocate for those he believed to be wrongly imprisoned. He headed the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted and, in 2004, founded the group Innocence International.
The story of The Hurricane began on June 17, 1966 when two white men and one white woman were shot at a bar in New Jersey. Carter and a man named John Artis were eventually convicted of the crimes, based on the testimony of two petty criminals, and given a life sentence. While in prison, Carter wrote the memoir The Sixteenth Round, and sent a copy to Dylan, who helped put his case on the map. Still, Carter languished in prison for another 10 years until a judge ruled the convictions of Carter and Artis were based more on racism than reason.
After almost two decades in prison, Carter was released and a few years later moved to Canada, where he lived with a group who had worked to help secure his release. In 2011, he wrote the memoir Eye of the Hurricane: My Path from Darkness to Freedom, which featured a foreword by Nelson Mandela.
In 2011, Carter was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was cared for by Artis, with whom he had remained friends for nearly 50 years. In the months leading up to his death, Carter remained an advocate for those he believed had faced injustice, sending a letter to the New York Daily News in February to demand the release of a Brooklyn man Carter said was wrongly convicted of murder in 1985.
"i am now quite literally on my deathbed and making my own final wish, which those in authority have the power to grant," he wrote in the letter. "To live in a world where truth matters and justice, however late, really happens, the world would be heaven enough for us all."
Carter twice appeared in the red chair over the last 10 seasons. You can watch both those interviews in full here:
And here's the Dylan song that brought his plight to the world: