By Jill Martin and Artemis Moshtaghian, CNN
(CNN) Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, considered one of the greatest light-weight boxers of all time, died Sunday after he was hit by a vehicle in Virginia, police said.
He was 55-years-old.
Officers received a call around 10 p.m. ET about a incident involving a vehicle and a pedestrian, Virginia Beach police said in a news release.
The pedestrian, who died at the scene, was later identified as Whitaker.
The driver remained on site with police, the release said, and the investigation re-mains active.
“We lost a legend truly one of boxing’s greatest Pound 4 Pound champions my father Pernell Sweetpea Whitaker,” his son, Domonique Whitaker, wrote in a Facebook post.
I’m having a hard time dealing with this loss! Pernell was one of the best I’ve ever seen, of all the times I introduced him in the ring it was always best in Virginia Beach, he entered the ring w/a full college marching band once-oh god, it was spectacular! Love You Pete.
Whitaker a southpaw known for his defensive prowess, grew up in Norfolk. As an amateur boxer, his record was 201-14 14 with 91 knockouts. He won Olympic gold at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles and also won gold at the 1983 Pan American Games and silver at the 1982 World Championships.
On my NY public access TV show “Max on Boxing” (1989-1998), I talked Pernell Whitaker more than any other fighter; it was basically the Pernell Whitaker show. He was the pound for pound best for half a decade, and one of the 3 greatest pure boxers who ever lived. RIP Sweet Pea.
Whitaker turned pro in 1984 after the Olympics and went on to become a world champion in four different weight classes: lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight.
In his professional career, he had 40 wins (17 of which were by knockout), four losses and one draw. He was recognized by boxing publication Ring Magazine as Fighter of the Year in 1989. In 2002, the magazine ranked him the 10th greatest boxer of the last 80 years.
Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker was in the class of Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard as one of the most entertaining fighters in my lifetime. I’m praying for his family during this difficult time. Rest in Peace my friend.
Whitaker retired from fighting in 2001 and worked as a trainer. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007.