Boxing great Jake LaMotta – who was memorably portrayed by actor Robert De? ?Niro in the flick Raging Bull — has died at the age of 95, his family announced.
“Rest in Peace, Champ,” De Niro [CQ] told ABC News.
“He was a great man, sensitive, and had eyes that danced right up to the end,” his sixth wife, Denise Baker, told the station.
“I love him. God rest his soul,” said Baker, who married LaMotta in 2013, adding of his career, “He never went down!”
The Lower East Side, Manhattan native fathered 6 children, one of whom announced his death on social media.
“Jake LaMotta July 10, 1922 – September 19, 2017 – Rest in Peace Pop,” his daughter Christi wrote on Facebook late Tuesday.
The Bronx-born Giacobbe “Jake” LaMotta was once World Middleweight Champion, and was nicknamed “The Raging Bull” for his aggressiveness and toughness in the ring.
LaMotta had some amazing battles, including six fights with fellow legend Sugar Ray Robinson.
“The three toughest fighters I fought were Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Robinson. I fought Sugar so many times I’m surprised I’m not diabetic,” he once cracked, according to the Financial Times.
He brawled his way to 83 wins — including 30 knockouts — 19 losses and four draws in a career that started when he turned pro at age 19 and lasted until the mid-1950s.
“The Ring” magazine, known as The Bible of Boxing, said in 1997 that LaMotta had the best chin in boxing, and he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.
After his retirement, he owned and operated several gin mills, and also appeared in more than a dozen films, including a cameo as a bartender in ”The Hustler,” starring Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman.
He also portrayed a gangster in several flicks and on episodes of the antennae-era TV show “Car 54 Where are you?”
“Raging Bull,” directed by martin Scorsese, is considered on of the greatest American movies of all time DeNiro’s gritty portrayal of LaMotta.