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What happened to Sammy Sosa’s skin? Here’s why the baseball legend looks so different

By Mandy Matney

mmatney@islandpacket.com

Sammy Sosa and wife Sonia Sosa are seen at the 12th Annual Starkey Hearing Foundation "So The World May Hear" Gala on Saturday, August 4, 2012 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Sammy Sosa and wife Sonia Sosa are seen at the 12th Annual Starkey Hearing Foundation "So The World May Hear" Gala on Saturday, August 4, 2012 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Invision for Starkey Hearing Foundation

Baseball legend Sammy Sosa has once again found himself at the center of attention.

This time, it’s for the color of his skin.

Dominican sports journalist Franklin Mirabal shared a few photos of Sosa with light skin in Paris just a few days before his 49th birthday on Sunday.

The Internet freaked out, wondering what happened to the retired Haitian-Dominican baseball player.

But this wasn’t the first time the world saw Sosa with lighter skin. Sosa made an appearance on ESPN in July that shook up the Internet.

This week, rapper T.I. told TMZ that Sosa’s light skin is the result of bleaching.

In 2009, Sosa’s skin started to appear lighter and people speculated that it was either because of a skin disease, skin bleaching, or an unfortunate byproduct from steroid use, ESPN reports. Sosa tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug in 2003.

But Sosa told Univision reporters that his light skin was caused by a cosmetic cream, ESPN reports.

"It's a cream that I have, that I use to soften [my skin], but has bleached me some,” Sosa said. “I'm not a racist, I live my life happily.”

According to a recent market report, the skin bleaching industry is booming in the United States and sales are expected to reach $31.2 billion by 2024, triple the amount reached in 2015.

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