By Brad Rowe | USA TODAY Brad Rovers death has been announced by his family as he was 55 years old.
A representative for the UFC said the news was not a result of an illness.
The news was announced Saturday morning.
It is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of former UFC heavyweight champion Brad Rove, a.k.a.
“The Hulk,” from St. Louis, Mo., on Saturday, according to a statement from the UFC.
“He was a beloved fighter who had a big heart and was always willing to help others.
We miss him terribly.”
Brad Rovers career spanned four decades, beginning with the UFC heavyweight championship in 1995.
He won three heavyweight championships, including the heavyweight championship of the world, in the 1970s and 1980s.
He became the first professional fighter to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 1997.
Brad Rowe died Saturday at age 55 in St. Charles, Mo.
A statement from his family said he passed away in his sleep.
He had battled brain cancer since the late 1990s and suffered from chronic pain.
His son, Joe Rowe, said he was not at home when the news came in.
The Rovers family did not release a statement.
The former heavyweight champion also served as a referee in several of his bouts.
Brad was the only fighter to win three consecutive UFC heavyweight titles from 1987 to 1990.
He lost his heavyweight championship to Dan Henderson in January 1997.
He also held the heavyweight title from 1990 to 1994.
In 2007, he was inducted as a member of the United States Boxing Hall of Famer Hall of Famers, the second time in two years that a former UFC fighter had been inducted.
He was inductee number one in 2011.
Brad made his UFC debut in 1997, defeating former heavyweight titlist and former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell.
He went on to win the heavyweight belt and the UFC title.
He made a comeback to the UFC in 2002, losing to Michael Bisping in the main event of the UFC on Fox event.