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Boxing royalty Leon Spinks has passed away at the age of 67 following a battle with prostate cancer.
The former heavyweight champion of the world had been fighting the disease for five years and sadly lost his battle on Friday evening.
Spinks passed away surrounded by family, including his wife Brenda and son Cory, according to reports.
The Missouri-native rose to prominence in the 1970's, winning an Olympic gold medal in 1976 before beating Muhammad Ali to become world heavyweight champion just two years later.
The historic victory over Ali was earned via a split-decision following 15 gruelling rounds, with Spinks only fighting seven times prior.
However, Ali emerged victorious in a rematch seven-years earlier, via a unanimous decision.
Spinks, who battled in wrestling later in his career, dealt with both financial and medical problems later in life.
In 2019, he was in hospital while undergoing treatment for the cancer.
And last year it was reported that Spinks was fighting for his life, with Brenda revealing he was struggling to swallow, leading her to inject medication into his feeding tube.
After news of his death broke, tributes began pouring in on social media.
President of the World Boxing Council Mauricio Sulaiman tweeted: "Rest in peace, Leon Spinks.
"Olympic medalist, Pan American medalist, and of course, WBC heavyweight champion."
While WBC lightweight champ Devin Haney posted: "RIP Leon Spinks."
Spinks' shock win over Ali remains one of the biggest shocks in boxing history.
"Ali thought I was a wimp, and I had to prove to him I wasn’t," Spinks said in 2014.
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"I knew I could beat him after watching his fights."
Spinks had a second title shot in 1981 but fell short in the third round against Larry Holmes.
He eventually finished his career with a 26-17-3 record, including 14 wins by knockout, proving somewhat anti-climatic after his incredible start in the sport.
Spinks was also inducted into the National Boxing Hall of Fame in 2016.
- Muhammad Ali
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- Mike Tyson
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