Episode 69: Dissidents Who Have Died – Requiem for a Heavyweight (Part 1), Trisha Harding Morrison on Tommy Morrison – What, or Who, KO’d ‘The Duke’?
October 7th, 2013
“How Positive Are You” co-host Elizabeth Ely goes 10 rounds (about two hours) with Trisha Harding Morrison on her husband’s recent death at age 44. Morrison was a two-time former heavyweight boxing champion who not only had made history in the ring with his dangerous left hook, but also starred as “Tommy Gunn” in the 1990 movie Rocky V. In this Part 1 of “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” Trisha tells, for the first time, the complete story of her husband’s journey to hell and back — and to hell again — as he fought both the boxing and the AIDS establishments. Shortly before this Podcast was taped, Trisha received news of the electron microscopy results on blood taken from her husband moments before he died: “The Duke” was carrying no “particles resembling HIV.”
By the time former British tennis pro Trisha met Tommy in 2009, he had already suffered the 1996 sudden end to his career and mid-2000s attempted comeback. Understandably concerned a/bout being exposed to the reportedly deadly “HIV,” Trisha did her own research. The couple was married in May 2011, only to see Tommy’s troubles escalate soon after.
“Don’t give up on me!!” — Tommy’s words to Trisha, painted on a small wooden heart — testify to the boxer’s remarkable courage and resilience in the face of formidable opponents. Said to be “down but not out” after a long string of medical mishaps, drug dependencies and imprisonments, Tommy nonetheless succumbed to the knockout punch on September 1, 2013, in Omaha, Nebraska, as his organs failed two days into a medically induced coma.
Tommy Morrison spoke to “How Positive Are You” in February 2010. A helpful link relating to this Podcast is Christine Johnson’s list of “Factors Known to Cause False Positive HIV Antibody Test Results“.
Click to see Electron Microscope results from Tommy Morrison’s blood: 2013 Tommy EM Results