Former heavyweight boxing champion Sonny Liston was found dead in his Las Vegas house by his wife, Geraldine Liston, on Jan. 5, 1971. Geraldine had just returned from a two-week trip when she entered the family home and discovered a terrible smell coming from the master bedroom. In the room she discovered the body of her husband slumped against the bed, a broken foot bench next to him.
Liston’s death was ruled a heroin overdose. It was believed he was getting undressed when he died and fell over, breaking the bench in the process. His date of death was listed as Dec. 30, 1970, which was determined by how many newspapers were on the Liston’s front porch.
While police claimed to know of Liston’s heroin habit, his friends disputed his cause of death. Heroin was found at the scene and Liston had traces of the drug in his system, but there was no drug paraphernalia found. Liston’s friends also insisted he was afraid of needles and would not be using a drug he had to inject.