Former championship boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho died Saturday at the hospital in Puerto Rico where he has been unconscious since he was shot in the face in an attack in his hometown.
Camacho went into cardiac arrest in the pre-dawn hours and he was then taken off life support and died shortly thereafter, said Dr. Ernesto Torres, the director of the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan.
Camacho's mother, Maria Matias, said Friday night that she had supported removing him from life support after his three sons had arrived from the U.S. mainland and had a chance to see their father for the last time. They managed to visit him before he died, said former pro boxer Victor “Luvi” Callejas, a longtime friend.
“The family is destroyed,” Callejas said outside the hospital.
Doctors had declared Camacho brain dead on Thursday. Matias had said she decided it was time for doctors to disconnect life support over the objections of the boxer's eldest son, Hector Jr., because there was no chance of recovery.
“I lost my son three days ago. He's alive only because of a machine,” she said Friday night. “My son is not alive. My son is only alive for the people who love him,” she added.
Torres said that none of the boxer's organs could be donated because of the time between when he was declared brain dead and his death after going into cardiac arrest for the second time since the shooting.
Callejas lamented the inability to donate the organs. “It's unfortunate that five more lives could not have been saved,” he said. “This could have been avoided.”
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 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, a U.S. island territory of nearly 4 million people that reported a record 1,117 homicides last year.
“Death, jail, drugs, killings,” he said. “That's what the streets are now.”
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 Harlem, earning the nickname the “Harlem Heckler.”
He won 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.