O.J. Simpson’s brain will not be donated to CTE research: report

The remains of O.J. Simpson, who died this week after battling prostate cancer, will be cremated with no plans to donate his brain to the research of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the New York Post reported Saturday. 

Malcolm LaVergne, Simpson’s longtime attorney and executor, told the outlet plans for the cremation have been signed off on, but the family gave a “hard no” to multiple calls for Simpson’s brain to be donated to CTE research. 

OJ Simpson is photographed with his family.

O.J. Simpson was the first player in Buffalo Bills history to be placed on the “Wall of Fame” at Rich Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sept. 14, 1980. Pictured with Simpson are his parents and son.  (Bettmann Archive via Getty Images)

“I may consult with the children on it, but I haven’t heard anything about it, so it’s just not going to happen. O.J. wants all of his body cremated for his children to do what they see fit,” LaVergne said. 

The links between former NFL players and CTE have been hotly debated over the years as new data continues to point to a connection. 

In 2023, the Boston University CTE Center announced that, of the 376 former NFL players studied, a startling 345, or nearly 92%, were found to have CTE.  

The Mayo Clinic describes CTE as a degenerative brain disease that is “likely caused by repeated head injuries.” It can only be diagnosed posthumously with a brain autopsy. While there are no definitive symptoms of the disease, anger is often associated with those diagnosed. 

O.J. Simpson breaks away from Steeler tacklers Jack Russell (59) and Andy Russell

O.J. Simpson breaks away from Steelers Jack Russell (59) and Andy Russell (34) to run 87 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter of a game Sept. 28, 1975. (Bettmann Archive via Getty Images)


Simpson had a prolific NFL career but was shunned after the 1994 killings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Simpson was acquitted of those crimes. He died Wednesday at 76. 

LaVergne told the Post Tuesday will likely be the day Simpson’s remains are cremated. 

“That’s what O.J. wanted. Those are O.J.’s wishes, and that’s what the kids are telling me.” 

O.J. Simpson of the Buffalo Bills during NFL Playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Buffalo Bills

O.J. Simpson of the Buffalo Bills during an NFL playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium Dec. 22, 1974, Pittsburgh. (Ross Lewsis/Getty Images)

He added that there may be a “celebration of life-type service” for close friends and family at a later date. 

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