Sanders was attending his nephew's 21st birthday party Saturday night at a restaurant outside Brits, northwest of Pretoria when three armed gunmen entered the restaurant and began randomly shooting in an apparent robbery attempt gone awry.
Corrie Sanders was taken to the Kalafong Hospital for treatment where doctors fought hard to save him. Sadly, he was pronounced dead eight hours later.
Sanders, whose last fight was in February of 2008, retired with a record of 43-4 with 31 KO's.
The South African heavyweight is perhaps most known for winning the WBO heavyweight title in March 2003, knocking out heavily-favored Wladimir Klitschko in the second round. A year later, Wladimir's brother, Vitali, stopped Sanders in the eighth round to win the vacant WBC heavyweight title previously held by Lennox Lewis who had recently retired.
It was originally reported that Sanders was attending his daughter's party but the restaurant owner confirmed it was a party for a nephew's son.
Police are working day and night to catch the three thugs responsible for the shooting as a full-scale manhunt is underway.
Reports have recently surfaced that Sanders, in heroic fashion, was lying across his 15 year-old daughter, serving as a human shield as gunfire erupted. Its also believed he whispered to her to pretend she was dead during the violent melee.
If the account is accurate, it's likely Corrie Sanders, the only person hit by gunfire, saved his daughter's life as she and the rest of the youngsters at the party escaped unscathed.
The Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, have issued a statement on Sanders' tragic ending.
"We were shocked to learn of the sudden death of Corrie Sanders and we want to express our sincere condolences to his family," said the Klitschkos.
"We will remember Corrie as a great person both inside and outside the ring. He was a great fighter with a big heart who always positively represented the sport of boxing."
Outraged, famed Celebrity Boxing host Sergio Michel told FightSaga, "I am shocked, what a shame. Three low-lifes ended such a great ambassador for the sport's life."
Search underway for Sanders' killer