8:54 AM PT -- Robert De Niro just issued a statement on LaMotta's passing, "Rest in Peace, Champ."

Boxing legend Jake LaMotta -- the champ who was played by Robert De Niro in the movie "Raging Bull" -- died Tuesday, TMZ has learned. He was 95.

Jake's wife tells TMZ, Jake died in a nursing home due to complications from pneumonia.

Another family member tells TMZ, Jake's condition deteriorated in the last few weeks. He was put on a feeding tube, which he kept pulling out. His condition worsened considerably in the last few days and a decision was made to withdraw the tube.

Jake's wife tells TMZ, "I just want people to know, he was a great, sweet, sensitive, strong, compelling man with a great sense of humor, with eyes that danced."

LaMotta was 83-19 in 106 pro fights -- a career that began in 1941, after he was rejected from serving in the military due to a medical issue.

He went on to win the world middleweight championship -- but he's most well known for his 6-fight rivalry with Sugar Ray Robinson ... though he only won 1 of the 6 fights.

LaMotta was famously portrayed by De Niro in the 1980 movie "Raging Bull," based on Jake's autobiography. De Niro won the Academy Award for Best Actor that year.

R.I.P.

LAST TIME WE SAW HIM
TMZSports.com