SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CBSNewYork/AP) — Boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho, who grew up in East Harlem, has died after being taken off life support in Puerto Rico.
Camacho, 50, was shot in the face Wednesday night in his hometown of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, as he sat in a car with a friend outside a bar. He was left clinically brain dead from the shooting.
On Saturday morning, Camacho’s mother decided to have doctors take him off life support after three more of his sons got a last chance to see him.
Though opposed by Camacho’s eldest son, the boxer’s mother Maria Matias said she had decided it was time for doctors to disconnect the machines that have kept him alive since he was shot in the face earlier in the week.
“I lost my son three days ago. He’s alive only because of a machine,” Matias said. “My son is not alive. My son is only alive for the people who love him.”
The former champion’s mother had the final say in the matter, but his eldest son, Hector Camacho Jr., said before the pugilist died that wanted to keep his father alive.
“He’s going to fight until the end. My father is a boxer,” the son said.
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 Friday that 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, which saw a record 1,117 homicides last year.
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 East Harlem, earning the nickname the “Harlem Heckler.”
He won three New York Golden Gloves championships in 1978, 1979 and 1980.
Camacho went on to win 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.
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