Former boxing champion Arturo Gatti, one of the most exciting fighters of his generation, was found dead in a hotel room in the posh seaside resort of Porto de Galihnas early Saturday, Associated Press reported.
Police investigator Edilson Alves told The Associated Press that the body of the former junior welterweight champ was discovered in his hotel room at the tourist resort, where Gatti had arrived on Friday with his Brazilian wife Amanda and 1-year-old son.
Alves said police were investigating and it was unclear how the 37-year-old Canadian died.
"It is still too early to say anything concrete, although it is all very strange," Alves said.
A spokeswoman for the state public safety department said Gatti's wife and son were unhurt. The women declined to give a name in keeping with department policy.
"There were no bullet or stab wounds on his body, but police did find blood stains on the floor," she said.
Gatti first captured the junior welterweight title in 1995, when he defeated Tracy Harris Patterson in Atlantic City, N.J. His brawling style and natural charisma made him a fan favorite, and he became one of New Jersey's adopted sons while fighting some of his most memorable battles on the Boardwalk.
"His entire boxing career he fought with us, we've known him since he was 17," Kathy Duva of promoter Main Events told The Associated Press. "It's just an unspeakable tragedy. I can't even find words. It's a horror."
Brazilian boxer and four-time world champion Acelino "Popo" Freitas told the G1 Web site of Brazil's largest television network Globo that he was a close friend of Gatti and his wife, and that he "knew they were having some sort of problem and were about to separate, but I didn't know they were in Brazil."
Francisco Assis, a local police investigator, told G1 that Gatti could have died up to eight hours before his body was found early Saturday.