The mixed martial arts world is in mourning after a star of the industry sadly passed away on Monday morning.

Tributes began pouring in on social media after Anthony “Rumble” Johnson died at the age of 38 following a long battle with illness.

Johnson’s cause of death was organ failure due to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis.

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MMA journalist Ariel Helwani confirmed the tragic news of Johnson’s passing.

“Horrible news: Anthony “Rumble” Johnson passed away today,” he tweeted.

“He was 38 years old. Johnson had been battling an illness for quite some time. One of the hardest hitters and most talented fighters in MMA history. Gone way too soon. May he rest in peace.”

Johnson’s manager Ali Abdelaziz tweeted hours ahead of Helwani’s confirmation, simply stating he was “heartbroken” by the passing.

In response to Helwani’s tweet, a user pointed out Johnson’s heartbreaking post from 2021 where he spoke about his scary illness.

“Really wish I could go into detail about how ill I truly am. Just know I need as many prayers as I can get and I’ll see you in 2022 God willing,” Johnson wrote.

“Never been this afraid of anything in my life but I’ve remained strong with the support of friends and family.”

In May Johnson posted on social media an optimistic update to his long-running health battle, advising followers things were looking up.

Bellator president Scott Coker spoke in January with MMAJunkie about Johnson’s return timeline and how it would be dictated by his health battle.

“Without getting too much into his medical condition, he’s got to worry just about being healthy first,” Coker said.

“He’s got to heal up and get healthy because there’s so much more in life than just fighting. I want him to have a long, healthy life, and that’s the most important thing.”

Tributes poured in from all over the mixed martial arts world after news of Johnson’s passing with fighters left heartbroken.

“Rest Easy my brother. For a guy who struck fear in so many peoples heart Anthony Johnson was a caring person. From random text to check ins during loss. What a person he was, Rumble will be missed. Sometimes life doesn’t seem fair. Horrible news,” Cormier wrote.

UFC legend Michael Bisping wrote: “Utterly shocked and saddened by this. RIP. Sincere condolences to all his family and loved ones.”

Former UFC fighter Paige VanZant wrote: “RIP legend.”

Fighter Michael Chiesa wrote: “RIP Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. One of the most prolific KO artists our sport has ever seen. My prayers go out to his family and everyone affected by this tragedy.”

Referee John McCarthy wrote: “Crushed and devastated to learn that Anthony Johnson has passed away. AJ was one of the good guys, he was a great man with a huge heart. God Bless you AJ, I will miss you my brother. RIP Rumble.”

Johnson had two stints in the UFC, his first from 2007 to 2012 as a weltweight before he rejoined the promotion from 2014-2017 as a light heavyweight.

With dynamite in his hands Johnson defeated some star power with wins over Glover Teixeira, Alexander Gustafsson and Ryan Bader.

He earned two shots at the light heavyweight championship, both coming against Daniel Cormier where he lost via submission on both occasions.

Johnson’s final fight came at Bellator 258 where he knocked out Jose Augusto Azevedo Barros in the second round.

The win came in the quarterfinal stages of the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix. He was however forced to withdraw from the tournament due to an unspecified illness.

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