TORONTO (CBSNewYork/AP) — Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, has died at 76.

A longtime friend and caregiver, John Artis, said Carter died in his sleep Sunday. Carter had been stricken with prostate cancer in Toronto, the New Jersey native’s adopted home.

Carter spent 19 years in prison for three murders at a tavern in Paterson, N.J., in 1966. He was convicted alongside Artis in 1967 and again in a new trial in 1976.

Carter was freed in 1985 when his convictions were set aside after years of appeals and public advocacy. His ordeal and the alleged racial motivations behind it were publicized in Bob Dylan’s 1975 song “Hurricane,” several books and a 1999 film starring Denzel Washington as the boxer turned prisoner.

“Rubin’s case stands apart from almost nay other murder case in the last 40 or 50 years because it was so involved in racial prejudice. Here’s a person with a big reputation, the police are out to get him, and he gets convicted not once, but twice on racially prejudiced evidence,” Selwyn Raab explained.

Carter spent the rest of his life working on behalf of the wrongly convicted, CBS 2’s Steve Overmyer reported.

He had a 27-12-1 record as a fighter and lost by decision to Joey Giardello in a middleweight world title bout in 1964.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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