DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Emanuel Steward, the owner of the legendary Kronk Gym and one of boxing’s greatest trainers, has died. He was 68.

Victoria Kirton, Steward’s executive assistant, told the Associated Press Steward died Thursday in a Chicago hospital. She did not disclose the cause of death, although Steward had reportedly been in poor health for several months.

The International Boxing Hall of Famer made his name training Thomas Hearns at the Kronk Gym in Detroit. That paved the way for Steward to work with a long line of champion boxers such as champion Lennox Lewis, during a big part of his title run, and current heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko as recently as July.

Steward owned the legendary Kronk Gym, where his fighters were clad in red and gold trunks, and worked as an analyst for HBO.

Hilmer Kenty, the first world champ trained by Steward, said he was one of a kind.

“I just don’t think boxing is going to be replacing Emanuel Steward, someone like Emanuel Steward, for a long, long time,” he said.

Kenty said Steward, who also trained Thomas Hearns, helped them improve as boxers  says he helped boxers in all aspects of the squared circle.

“He understood that boxing had a physical side and a psychological side,” Hearns said. “He understood that, of course, you must be in good physical condition each and every time you go out for a boxing match, but you also must understand the mental part of the competition.”

Some media outlets had reported Steward’s death much earlier in the day, Thursday, drawing criticism from a family member, who issued a scolding statement.  “The Steward family is dismayed and greatly disheartened and disappointed that during this personally challenging time, people would callously and thoughtlessly run wild with untrue statements in order to garner their 15 minutes of fame.”

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, November 13 at Greater Grace Temple on 7 Mile in Detroit. The family will greet friends at 11 a.m. and services will commence at noon. The public is invited. Flowers can be sent to Swanson Funeral Home in the days leading up to the service.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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