Exodus Tyson was found Monday morning hanged from a cord that was connected to a treadmill in the family's activity room in their Phoenix, Arizona home. She was discovered when her mother, who was cleaning in another room, sent the girl's seven-year-old brother in to check on her.
Police are treating the case as an accident, saying it appears the child was playing on or near the treadmill and became tangled in the cord. The girl's mother was administering CPR when paramedics arrived on the scene. Exodus died a day later of her injuries.
Tyson was in Las Vegas at the time of the incident but rushed to his daughter's side upon being notified of the tragedy.
"Mike was very dedicated to that baby,'' said Sig Rogish, a longtime friend of Tyson and his former agent. "I think every parent's greatest fear is that they live beyond their children. I know Mike has had his troubles in his life, but he's always been a good father."
The troubles Rogish refers to are numerous. Tyson's father left the family when Mike was two; his mother died when he was 16. By the age of 13 he had been arrested 38 times, but was saved from a life on the streets after juvenile hall when a counselor discovered his boxing talent.
His short-lived marriage to actress Robin Givens ended amidst allegations of physical and emotional abuse and mental illness. He was convicted of raping a beauty queen and spent three years in prison for the crime. He was stripped of his boxing license for a year after biting off a chunk of Evander Holyfield's ear during a match, went to prison again on new assault charges, filed for bankruptcy in 2003 after squandering nearly $300 million -- around the same time his second marriage ended due to his reported infidelities -- and was arrested again in 2006 on charges of DUI and felony drug possession.
Tyson knows his life has been one big tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. In 2005 he told USA Today:
"My whole life has been a waste -- I've been a failure. I just want to escape. I'm really embarrassed with myself and my life. I want to be a missionary. I think I could do that while keeping my dignity without letting people know they chased me out of the country. I want to get this part of my life over as soon as possible. In this country nothing good is going to come of me. People put me so high; I wanted to tear that image down."