Former boxing champion Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker died after being struck by a vehicle while crossing the street at a busy Virginia Beach intersection, authorities said Monday.
Whitaker, 55, was pronounced dead at the scene around 10 p.m. Sunday night, police said in a statement.
While police said an investigation is ongoing and no decision had been made on charging the driver of the vehicle, Whitaker's son was interviewed by The Virginian-Pilot.
"I guess he was wearing dark clothes, the road was dark, and the driver didn't see him," Devon Whitaker told the newspaper.
The International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee was a 1984 Olympic gold medalist and had 17 knockouts in 45 career fights (40-4-1) at multiple weight classes. He won titles at lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight.
"Pernell Whitaker was beautiful — both as a fighter and as a human being," HBO Sports said in a statement. "An artist in the ring, 'Sweet Pea' appeared on our World Championship Boxing platform for a decade (1990-1999), giving fans many unforgettable moments. His is a Hall of Fame legacy, which we are forever grateful to call our own heritage. Pernell's passing is a great loss. We send our condolences to his family, as well as his extended family at Main Events and throughout the boxing community."
Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield mourned his 1984 Olympic teammate and longtime friend on social media. "He was small in statue but yet so big in heart and skills inside the ring," Holyfield tweeted. "There will never be another like him, he will truly be missed."
"I'm truly at a loss for words," former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson posted on Twitter. "He was a flawless fighter. Condolences to his family."
The 1989 Fighter of the Year, Whitaker became a boxing trainer following his retirement from the ring in 2001.