The sportsman, known by his nickname Hurricane, had been battling prostate cancer and passed away in his sleep on Sunday (20Apr14) in Toronto, Canada.
Carter's promising boxing career was cut short in 1967 after he was wrongfully convicted of three murders in his native New Jersey. He spent 19 years in prison, before he was finally released in 1985 after multiple appeals.
Carter's ordeal, and the alleged racial motivations behind it, was highly publicised and became the subject of folk star Bob Dylan's 1975 song Hurricane.
His life story was adapted for the 1999 film The Hurricane, which earned Washington an Oscar nomination.