Whitaker was a world champion in four divisions – WBC lightweight, IBF light welterweight, WBC welterweight and WBA light middleweight. He retired in 2001 after compiling a 40-4-1 record including 17 knockouts and later worked as a trainer.
A member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, Whitaker was named boxer of the year by Ring magazine in 1989. He also won an Olympic gold medal in 1984.
Whitaker was pronounced dead at a Virginia Beach intersection on Sunday night after police were called to the scene of an accident, a police report said. The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene and the accident is still under investigation, police added.