Updated: Monday, 21 April 2014 01:39 | By Agence France-Presse

Wrongfully imprisoned US boxer 'Hurricane' Carter dies

Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a US boxer made famous by a racially tinged wrongful murder conviction that landed him behind bars for 19 years, died Sunday, an association he directed said. He was 76.

Wrongfully imprisoned US boxer 'Hurricane' Carter dies

US Rubin Carter (R) lands a punch on Fabio Bettini of Italy during their international middleweight match in Paris, on February 22, 1965

Carter, who passed away of prostate cancer in Toronto, was convicted twice of the 1966 murder of three people who were fatally shot at a tavern in Paterson, New Jersey, US and Canadian media reported.

The conviction, which cut short his illustrious boxing career as a fearsome middleweight contender, made him a pop culture cause celebre.

His story inspired Bob Dylan's 1975 song "Hurricane" and the 1999 flick "The Hurricane," which landed Denzel Washington an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Carter.

In 1985, Carter was exonerated by a US district court judge who said his conviction had been "based on an appeal to racism rather than reason," according to the nonprofit Chicago Innocence Project that investigates wrongful convictions.

The two men and a woman whom Carter was accused of shooting were white and he was convicted by an all-white jury, media reports said. He was given a second trial in 1976 and convicted yet again.

After finally being released, Carter, a native of New Jersey, moved to Toronto.

From 1993 to 2005 he served as the executive director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted in Canada.

The organization said it was "deeply saddened" by the death of Carter, "a truly courageous man who fought tirelessly to free others who had suffered the same fate."

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