August 13, 2009 / 8:11 PM / 9 years ago

Mike Tyson says in denial over daughter's death

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson says he still has no idea how to handle the accidental death in May of his 4 year-old daughter, calling it a “dark moment in my life.”

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson attends a news conference for the documentary film "Tyson" by U.S. director James Toback at the 61st Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2008. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

But in his first public comments about his daughter’s death, Tyson told celebrity TV news show “Entertainment Tonight” that his new career as an actor was helping him. He is appearing as a guest star in the upcoming Fox comedy “Brothers”.

“I really was beating myself up over my daughter. I was staying in the house, depressed; it was a dark moment in my life. (Acting) keeps me functioning as a healthy human being,” he said in the interview broadcast on Thursday.

Tyson’s daughter Exodus died in May after choking on a cord attached to a treadmill at her mother’s Arizona home. She was one of six children Tyson has had with different girlfriends.

“I am working with dealing with it. I have spoken to a lot of people. I have become a member of an exclusive club no one wants to join,” Tyson said.

“I have been told the pain never stops but you get over it. I am going through a process, trying to heal. I am in denial, because I don’t know how to handle it. I don’t know what to do or say. I appreciate everybody who supported me.”

Shortly after the death of Exodus, Tyson, 43, married his current girlfriend, Lakiha Spicer, in Las Vegas. It was his third marriage.

Tyson retired from boxing in 2005 after a career marked by controversy. He was the subject of a documentary film “Tyson” earlier this year and had a cameo role playing himself in the summer comedy “The Hangover”.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant

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