Kimbo Slice
Popular MMA fighter Kimbo Slice has died aged 42Getty Images

Professional fighters have paid tribute to the legendary American Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Kimbo Slice following his death aged 42. Slice, who shot to film with his online videos of him brawling in the street before competing in the UFC, was taken to the Northwest Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale in Florida on 6 June after falling ill at his home.

The cause of death is still not known, but there is not thought to be any suspicious circumstances. Slice, real name Kevin Ferguson, was due to travel to London in July to take part in an MMA match against James Thompson.

Scott Coker, president of MMA promotional promotion company Bellator, confirmed Kimbo's death. He said: "We are all shocked and saddened by the devastating and untimely loss of Kimbo Slice, a beloved member of the Bellator family.

"One of the most popular MMA fighters ever, Kimbo was a charismatic, larger-than-life personality that transcended the sport.

"Outside the cage, he was a friendly, gentle giant and a devoted family man. His loss leaves us all with extremely heavy hearts, and our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Ferguson family and all of Kimbo's friends, fans, and teammates."

The world of professional fighting has now paid tribute to the 42-year-old described as a "true warrior and really nice guy".

Slice became a viral YouTube star in the early 2000s for posting videos of him street fighting, sometimes fighting more than one opponent at the same time. He signed a deal with UFC in 2009 and appeared in season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter. He went on to become one of the most popular fighters in MMA history, with his first bout against Thomson in 2008 becoming MMA's most-watched fight in its history with more than seven million views.

His most recent fight was against Dhafir Harris, aka Dada 5000, at Bellator 149 on 19 February. However, the match was ruled a no-contest after Slice tested positive for steroids following his victory.

The UFC said they are "saddened" to learn of the death of the 42-year-old. A spokesperson added: "Slice will forever be a part of UFC history as a contestant on season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter in 2009, and for having fought twice inside the Octagon at The Ultimate Fighter Finale and UFC 113. He carried himself as a true professional during his time in our organisation.

"While he will never be forgotten for his fighting style and transcendent image, Slice will also be remembered for his warm personality and commitment to his family and friends. UFC offers its sincere condolences to Slice's family, friends and teammates at American Top Team."