JONATHAN J. COOPER
Associated Press Writer
PHOENIX (AP) — The death of Mike Tyson's 4-year-old daughter in a bizarre accident adds an awful chapter to the boxer's troubled life.
Exodus Tyson died at a hospital Tuesday, a day after her neck apparently got caught in a cord dangling from a treadmill at her Phoenix home, police said.
Police said Exodus either slipped or put her head in the loop of a cord hanging under the console and suffocated. She was pronounced dead just before noon after being on life support, said police Sgt. Andy Hill, who called the injury a "tragic accident."
"There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Exodus," the family said in a statement. "We ask you now to please respect our need at this very difficult time for privacy to grieve and try to help each other heal."
Tyson, who has been living in Las Vegas, flew Monday to Phoenix, where he was seen entering the hospital.
The modest house where his daughter was injured contrasts starkly with the lavish lifestyle Tyson had through his tumultuous years of boxing, when he spent tens of millions of dollars and says he had millions more stolen from him by unscrupulous associates.
During two years at the height of his career, he earned $140 million — but he filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 2003.
He has been promoting a new documentary about his life and told The New York Times earlier this month he had been sober for 15 months after years of drug and alcohol abuse.
"I don't know who I am," he told the newspaper. "That might sound stupid. I really have no idea. All my life I've been drinking and drugging and partying, and all of a sudden this comes to a stop."
Tyson first began boxing in a facility for juvenile delinquents in upstate New York at the age of 12. Eight years later, he became the youngest heavyweight champion ever when he knocked out Trevor Berbick in 1986. But in 1990, he was defeated by James "Buster" Douglas in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, and soon after was convicted of raping a beauty pageant contestant in Indianapolis.
Tyson, who still denies he raped the woman, served three years in prison.
A few years later, he served three months in jail for beating up two men after a minor car crash in suburban Washington.
As his career continued, so did his bizarre behavior. He bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear during a boxing match and once threatened to eat the children of heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.
Although Tyson's children had lived in their unassuming neighborhood for several years, he purchased a separate home in the tony Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley in 2005 for $2.1 million, selling it two years later for $2.3 million.
In November 2007, Tyson spent 24 hours in Maricopa County's "Tent City" jail after pleading guilty to one count of cocaine possession and one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence. Police found the drug when they pulled over Tyson's car after he left a Scottsdale night club.
According to police, Tyson said after his arrest that he bought cocaine "whenever I can get my hands on it."
At Tyson's sentencing hearing, nearly a year after the arrest, his attorney David Chesnoff said his client had taken 29 drug tests without a relapse and was attending Alcoholic Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
Tyson had become an example of how a person overcomes problems with drugs, a violent past and poor upbringing, Chesnoff said.
"He's tried his hardest," his attorney said, "despite coming from almost impossible beginnings."
Associated Press writers Bob Baum and Terry Tang contributed to this report.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.