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Brian Cushing 'Very Distraught' Over Joe McKnight

12/2/2016 8:38 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1202-brian-cushing-joe-mcknight-getty-02Brian Cushing is taking the death of his former USC teammate, Joe McKnight, very hard ... so says Brian's friend Zac Diles

Zac -- who played on the Houston Texans with Cushing -- says he spoke with the linebacker hours after the news broke about McKnight ... and he's "very, very distraught."

Cushing has posted the following statement about McKnight:

"Joe I'll never forget the time we had together at SC. It was unbelievable to see you grow and work your ass off from a freshman until the day you were drafted."

"We competed every day in practice only wanting the best for each other. I'm absolutely crushed to hear the news today about you being gone. I'll never forget what you accomplished and how far you came as a player and a person. RIP Joe McKnight."

Joe McKnight CFL Teammates 'In Disbelief' 'He Was The Coolest Dude Ever'

12/2/2016 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1201_joe_mcknight_Saskatchewan-RoughridersJoe McKnight's CFL teammates are "in total disbelief" he was killed in a road rage incident ... with one member of the squad telling TMZ Sports McKnight was "the coolest dude ever" and would never get violent.

We spoke to Jeff Knox -- the starting middle linebacker for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL -- who tells us the team was shaken to the core when they heard the sad news.

"We have a team group chat, no one believed it at first. I was like NO WAY this could happen to Joe, the guy never looked for any trouble, just wanted to play football and get home to his kids."

Witnesses say McKnight was actually attempting to apologize to his gunman before he was killed ... and, according to Knox, that's exactly who he was.

"He might have saw his hair and thought he was just some random hoodlum, not knowing he was a pro athlete with a family. I never met a nicer guy, we used to go at it on the field, if he ever cut me, or blocked me wrong he apologized."

Joe McKnight USC Teammates Mourn Loss 'He'll Definitely Be Missed'

12/1/2016 4:07 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1201-joe-mcknight-jurrell-casey-GETTY-02Joe McKnight's USC family is heartbroken over the death of the running back. 

We spoke with Tennessee Titans linebacker Jurrell Casey -- who played with McKnight in 2008 and 2009 -- who tells us, "He will definitely be missed."

"I want to send my regards to his friends and family," Casey says.

"He was always a great guy and fun to be around. He's always had encouraging words. We had some great laughs. He was such a good person to talk to."

Brian Cushing also issued an emotional statement -- "Joe I'll never forget the time we had together at SC. It was unbelievable to see you grow and work your ass off from a freshman until the day you were drafted."

"We competed every day in practice only wanting the best for each other. I'm absolutely crushed to hear the news today about you being gone. I'll never forget what you accomplished and how far you came as a player and a person. RIP Joe McKnight." 

LenDale White didn't play with McKnight -- but McKnight's death is hitting him very hard.

"I'm so fu****g hurt right now. Tears jus keep flowing I love u lil bro. long live smokin Joe!!!!"

He adds, "I jus keep wishing this is a bad dream!!!"

Reggie Bush -- "RIP my brother Joe McKnight this one hurts bad."

Matt Leinart -- "News about Joe Mcknight is devastating. Just at a loss of words!"

Su'a Cravens -- "Rest In Peace to one of my all time favorite Trojans Joe McKnight ... Gone way too soon and I'll pray for your family! Sad man, just sad."

Keyshawn Johnson -- "RIP to former Trojan and NY Jet, Joe McKnight. Man this s--- has got to STOP"

Joe McKnight Shooter Is 54-Year-Old White Male ... Cops Say

12/1/2016 3:52 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

1201-joe-mcknight-getty-1bThe man who shot and killed Joe McKnight is a 54-year-old white male named Ronald Gasser ... the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office tells TMZ Sports

Law enforcement says Gasser is currently detained and being questioned about why he shot the 28-year-old football star. 

At this point, he has NOT been formally arrested.

Cops say Gasser stayed at the scene of the shooting until cops arrived. Once law enforcement got to the scene, he handed over his gun without further incident. 

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Cops say they're investigating the shooting as a road rage incident -- and are trying to find out what happened in the moments before the former NY Jets running back was killed

Story developing ... 

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Joe McKnight Ex-NFL Star Killed In Road Rage Incident

12/1/2016 2:24 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

1201_joe_mcknight_getty_Remembering_launch_2update_graphic_red_bar2:40 PM PT -- Cops say they have detained a man they believe to be the shooter -- 54-year-old Ronald Gasser. 

Cops say McKnight did NOT have a gun at the time of the shooting. 

Emergency responders tried to administer CPR but to no avail.

update-grey-gray-barEx-NFL running back Joe McKnight was murdered in a road rage shooting in the New Orleans area ... law enforcement tells TMZ Sports

The incident occurred at 2:43 PM. Family members identified the 28-year-old at the scene. 

A witness told NOLA.com ... she saw McKnight trying to apologize to another man after some sort of traffic incident.

The witness says the man then pulled out a gun and shot McKnight -- and while standing over him screamed, "I told you not to f*** with me" ... then fired another shot into his body. 

1201_joe_mcknight_crime_scene_photosMcKnight was a high school phenom -- considered the best running back in the country.

He played college ball at USC. He was drafted by the NY Jets in 2010.

In a statement to TMZ Sports, the Jets said, "Joe McKnight was a loving father and a genuine, kind-hearted person. It is sad when life is taken in what appears to be such a senseless act of violence. Joe you will be missed."

Joe was currently playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League.

Roughriders president and CEO Craig Reynolds issued a statement saying, "We are saddened to hear of the tragic loss of Joe McKnight."

"Losing a member of our Rider family this way is an unthinkable occurrence. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe’s family, teammates and coaches."

Chapecoense Plane Crash Massive Stadium Tribute To Fallen Soccer Stars

12/1/2016 6:40 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

1201-Chapecoense-tribute-fans-gallery-GETTY-EPA-PRIMARY-02Thousands of emotional fans packed the Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, Brazil Wednesday night to pay tribute to the soccer players killed in the Colombia plane crash ... with flags, drums and fireworks. 

71 people were killed -- including most of the Chapecoense Real soccer team -- when their flight crashed into the mountains in northwestern Colombia earlier this week. 

The tribute at the team's home stadium was beautiful.

R.I.P.

Big Mac Inventor Two All-Beef Patty Salute! 'Super Size Me' Guy Downs # 28,984

11/30/2016 4:19 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1130-don-gorskeBig Mac creator Jim Delligatti got the ultimate tribute from his biggest fan -- the guy who famously eats 2 Macs per day come hell or high water.

"Super Size Me" star Don Gorske rolled into his fave Mickey D's on Wednesday, as soon as he heard Delligatti had died. Gorske says he ordered his usual -- yes, 12 years later, he's still pulling double duty everyday -- and proudly inhaled his 28,983rd and 28,984th sandwiches ... in memoriam, of course.

Gorske tells us he actually spoke to Jim by phone back in 2007, and hopes McDonald's will do something special to honor Delligatti's legacy.

McDonald's Big Mac Creator Dies at 98

11/30/2016 9:37 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

1130-jim-delligatti-ap-02The man who created McDonald's most iconic burger has gone to the big burger stand in the sky.

Michael "Jim" Delligatti, who made the first Big Mac, died in his home in Pittsburgh Monday night surrounded by family ... according to a McDonald's spokesperson.

Delligatti, who owned multiple McDonald's franchises in Pennsylvania, first thought of the Big Mac in the mid-1960s ... when he wanted to offer customers a bigger burger than what Mickey D's was offering at the time. McDonald's was reportedly opposed at first, but the burger gods ended up going with his idea in 1968. It was already a hit at all of his stores in PA.

Delligatti was 98. In case you forgot his invention inspired that awesome jingle.

Sorry, you're gonna be singing this all day. 

Colombia Plane Crash Soccer Team Survivor Instagrammed Before Crash

11/29/2016 6:08 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

One of the survivors of the Colombian plane crash Instagrammed shortly before boarding the plane that went down -- showing him smiling and laughing with a soccer teammate before the unthinkable occurred. 

The man with the beard is Alan Ruschel -- a defender on the Chapecoense soccer team, based out of Brazil. The team was set to play in the finals of the Copa Sudamericana on Wednesday.

Ruschel Instagrammed with his teammate, Danilo Padilha, while aboard the first leg of their trip -- before they got on the charter flight that crashed en route to Medellín, Colombia.

Padilha survived the initial crash, but later died at a nearby hospital. 

Ruschel reportedly suffered head injuries in the crash -- but is said to be alive. 

1129-colombia-plane-crash-getty-launch-02The plane, which took off from Bolivia, contained 81 passengers -- including players, journalists and others. It reportedly suffered electrical failure just before it was supposed to land near the airport in Medellin, Colombia. 

Miraculously, rescuers found 6 survivors in the wreckage -- 3 players, 2 crewman and 1 journalist. 71 people have been confirmed dead. 

According to reports, Lionel Messi and the Argentina national soccer team flew on the exact same plane just 20 days ago to travel to a match in Brazil.

Story developing ... 

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Muhammad Ali Liston Knockout Pic Hits Auction ... Could Sell For $600k!!

11/29/2016 12:50 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

1128-ali-GuernseysNow's your chance to own one of the most iconic images in sports history ... if you have more than half a MILLION dollars layin' around.

Muhammad Ali's iconic knockout picture from the 1965 Sonny Liston rematch -- the original print taken by famed photog Neil Leifer -- is hitting the auction block this weekend.

The starting bid is $160,000 ... but the folks at Guernsey's Auction expect the winning bid could reach $600k.

We can't overstate the significance ... the punch that felled Liston is LEGENDARY (and controversial ... "phantom punch") and conventional wisdom is that it's the moment that launched Ali.

The photo comes with a handwritten message from Ali -- who was Cassius Clay at the time -- to Leifer, as well as the original press credentials from the event.

The live auction will go down this Saturday at NYC's Bohemian National Hall. Bids can also be placed online.

Happy bidding!

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Prince Woman Warns Estate ... Step Aside, I'm His Wife!

11/28/2016 11:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1128-prince-getty-03Prince was married when he died and wanted all of his money to go exclusively to his wife -- according to the alleged wife, who's now putting his estate on notice.

The woman -- Claire Elisabeth Elliott -- filed a request for the court to remove Bremer Trust bank as administrator of Prince's estate, because she believes she should be calling the shots ... as his "Sole Heir." 

Claire even claims there is a marriage certificate and will to back her up. It's worth noting she did not attach those documents in her filing. Also, we checked Minnesota court records ... no dice. 

We're gonna go ahead and file this under "can't knock her for trying." She is ambitious though -- Claire also filed docs to run for President ... of the United States. 

Just a hunch, her shot at Prince's dough will likely end the same way as her campaign.

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Harambe Holiday Sweater Shooting Off Shelves

11/27/2016 12:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1123-harambe-christmas-sweater-fresh-brewed-teesHarambe's experiencing a comeback of Hollywood proportions -- going from a symbol of national tragedy to a spreader of Christmas joy ... albeit on a not-so-attractive holiday sweater.

The infamous gorilla is featured front and center on a Fresh Brewed Tees design, and sales are blowing up. They've already sold more than a thousand in less than a week, at $49.99 each. 

Pretty amazing turnaround ... considering how divided the nation was on the big guy's demise

Ugly sweaters -- bringing American's together for the holidays since ... well, a long time.

#RIPHarambe

'Barney Miller' Star Ron Glass Dead At 71

11/26/2016 12:35 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1126-ron-glass-barney-miller-show-abc-01update_graphic_red_bar2:45 PM PST -- Glass' rep Jeffrey Leavitt tells TMZ ... "Ron passed late last night of respiratory failure. Ron was a  private, gentle and caring man. He was an absolute delight to watch on screen.  Words cannot adequately express my sorrow. "update_grey_gray_barRon Glass, a centerpiece on the 70's sitcom "Barney Miller" has died ... according to his rep. 

Glass had recently battled with various illnesses, and was an active member in the L.A. Buddhist community. He passed away at his home Friday, where'd he'd been watched by a caretaker.

Glass received an Emmy nomination for his role as Detective Ron Harris on the show ... he also made appearances on the original Hawaii Five-O, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Firefly and more recently on an episode of CSI in 2014.

RIP

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