Former championship boxer Hector "Macho" Camacho died Saturday at the hospital in Puerto Rico where he has been unconscious since he was shot in the face in an attack in his hometown.
Camacho went into cardiac arrest in the pre-dawn hours and he was then taken off life support and died shortly thereafter, said Dr. Ernesto Torres, the director of the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan.
Camacho's mother, Maria Matias, said Friday night that she had authorized removing him from life support after his three sons had arrived from the U.S. mainland and had a chance to see their father for the last time. They managed to visit him before he died, said former pro boxer Victor "Luvi" Callejas, a longtime friend who has been acting as a family spokesman in recent days.
"The family destroyed," Callejas said outside the hospital.
Doctors had declared Camacho brain dead on Thursday. Matias had said she decided it was time for doctors to disconnect life support over the objections of the boxer's eldest son, Hector Jr., because there was no chance of recovery.
"I lost my son three days ago. He's alive only because of a machine," she said Friday night. "My son is not alive. My son is only alive for the people who love him," she added.
Camacho was shot as he sat in a car with a friend, 49-year-old Adrian Mojica Moreno, who was killed in the attack. Police spokesman Alex Diaz said officers found nine small bags of cocaine in the friend's pocket and a 10th bag open inside the car.
Police reported no arrests and said investigators continued to look for potential witnesses. Capt. Rafael Rosa told reporters they were following several leads, but declined to say whether police had identified any suspects. He said very few witnesses were cooperating.
Hector Camacho Jr. decried the violence that grips Puerto Rico, a U.S. island territory of nearly 4 million people that reported a record 1,117 homicides last year.
"Death, jail, drugs, killings," he said. "That's what the streets are now."
Camacho's sisters have said they would like to fly Camacho's body to New York and bury him there. Camacho grew up mostly in Harlem, earning the nickname the "Harlem Heckler."
He won super lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight world titles in the 1980s and fought high-profile bouts against Felix Trinidad, Julio Cesar Chavez and Sugar Ray Leonard while compiling a career record of 79-6-3. He knocked out Leonard in 1997, ending the former champ's final comeback attempt.
Camacho battled drug, alcohol and other problems throughout his life. He was sentenced in 2007 to seven years in prison on burglary charges, but a judge eventually suspended all but one year of the sentence and gave Camacho probation. He wound up serving two weeks in jail after violating that probation. A wife also filed domestic abuse complaints against him twice before their divorce.
- The former Puerto Rican boxer, Hector "Macho" Camacho, who is still fighting for his life after being shot in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, has lived a life full of controversy and sadness, as much inside the ring than outside. Here, we remember his most notable scandals. Photo: Especial Terra
- On November 20, Camacho was shot in the face while sitting in a car in the outskirts of the Puerto Rican capital. Another man, also in the car, died in the attack. Photo: AP
- Camacho was taken to the Centro Medico in San Juan, where he was in a critical but stable condition, according to the medical director of the hospital, Ernesto Torres. The bullet hit his jaw, then his shoulded and fractured two vertebrae. Photo: Reproducción
- Unfortunately, the boxer's condition worsened overnight and he could be disconnected from life support according to his friend and former manager, Ismael Leandry. They are awaiting Camacho's mother to make the final decision. Photo: Twitter People en Español
- Camacho, one of the elite boxers of the 1980's and 1990's has had problems with the law on various occasions for theft, drug possession and domestic violence. Photo: Reproducción
- One of the last incidents was in March 2011 when, according to authorities, he grabbed his son by the neck and threw him to the ground. Photo: EFE
- The Orange County DA presented charges on November 2, 2011 and on April 3, 2012 he turned himself in to authorities. Photo: AP
- On January 6, 2005 he was arrested by Mississippi police for stealing electronics and being in posession of Ecstacy. Photo: AP
- In the ring, his most notorious loss was agagainst Julio Cesar Chavez, who defeated him unanimously. Camacho was booed and criticized for his defensive style. Photo: Getty Images
- Another infamous loss was also unanimously, against his compatriot Felix trinidad, who defeated him despite suffering a cut to his left eye early in the fight. Photo: AP
- Oscar De La Hoya also defeated him by unanimous decision, after attacking from the start and knocking him down in the 9th round, in a fight for the WBC welterweight title. Photo: Getty Images
- Even his wins were controversial, like the one against Roberto Duran in 1996. According to experts, the decision by the judges Tim Gifley, Paul Venti and Dana DePaolo heavily favored the Puerto Rican despite Duran having a clear victory. Photo: AP