NORFOLK, Va. — Pernell Whitaker was something of a whirlwind. He rose to the top and everybody around him held on for the wild ride.

The highs couldn't have been better for Pernell, better known as "Sweet Pea" Whitaker. The lows couldn't have been much lower. While walking, he was struck and killed by a vehicle in Virginia Beach on Sunday night.

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Whitaker grew up in a tough neighborhood in Norfolk. The world came to know who in the Summer Olympics in 1984. With all the championship belts he would later win, he would always cherish his Olympic Gold medal the most.

He worked his way to be the undisputed lightweight champion of the world. by the end, he had won titles in four different weight classes.

In 2006, "Sweet Pea" earned induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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At the same time, he was beset by demons. Whitaker struggled with drug abuse later in his career and after he retired. He had troubles with the law and his family.

Whitaker was age 55 when he died on Sunday.