His sister, Diane Steward-Jones, confirmed the sad news to the Detroit Free Press.
Emanuel Steward was only 68.
"He has passed – he's gone home," Steward-Jones said by phone. "He was in no pain, and we sang to him, as well as did the doctors present. He had loved ones around him."
Although Hilmer Kenty became Steward's first world champion in March 1980, the legendary trainer burst into prominence in 1981 as the trainer of Thomas Hearns whom he changed from a light hitting boxer into a devastating puncher. Under Steward's tutelage, Hearns became a top-level pound-for-pound fighter in early and mid 1980s and one of the most successful and popular fighters of the era.
Pictured: Thomas Hearns, left, with Emanuel Steward (Circa late 1970s, early 1980s)
Since training Hearns, Steward has worked with Evander Holyfield, Miguel Cotto, Lennox Lewis, Michael Moorer, Wladimir Klitschko, Oscar De La Hoya and Naseem Hamed to name just a few.
A man of many skills, the icon's best work came when toiling in training sessions under the warm lights of sweltering, sweaty, oxygen-deprived gyms, far from the cameras and TV, and glitz of big-time fights.
And although he's most known as the legendary founder of the fabled Kronk Gym and trainer of champions, and HBO analyst, Emanuel Steward had a tremendous positive impact on countless young people in the Detroit area thanks to his unceasing dedication to helping youths.
Today the entire sports world mourns the loss of a truly great man, Emanuel Steward.
Pictured: Emanuel Steward, left, and Wladimir Klitschko share good times
You'll find no one as passionate about and dedicated to boxing as Emanuel Steward was. His legacy will live on, not only due to his tremendous contributions to the sport, but also because of all the lives he's touched.
Fight afficianado and promoter Jackie Kallen said on BoxingInsider earlier:
"With the passing of both Angelo Dundee and Emanuel Steward, the boxing world is a different place. We also lost Bill Miller and Burt Sugar. The landscape looks different. The old familiar faces are leaving us, to be replaced by younger ones. But will there ever be faces in the corner as revered and iconic as Emanuel and Angelo?"
The cause of death has not yet been confirmed but its believed to be the result of complications of diverticulitis, a stomach disorder resulting from waste that gets trapped in the pouches of the colon and allows bacteria to fester. This can lead to inflammation or infection and be very painful, eventually leading to a blockage in the colon (bowel obstruction) if surgery isn't performed.
Emanuel Steward Facts and Achievements
- Elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame
- Elected into the World Boxing Hall of Fame
- Compiled a record of 94 wins and 3 losses as an amateur boxer
- Won the 1963 national Golden Gloves tournament in the bantamweight division.
- Trained Dennis Andries, Wilfred Benítez, Julio César Chávez, Kermit Cintron, Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya, Naseem Hamed, Thomas Hearns, Evander Holyfield, Hilmer Kenty, Wladimir Klitschko, Lennox Lewis, Michael Moorer, Oliver McCall, Mike McCallum, Milton McCrory, Gerald McClellan, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Jimmy Paul, Graciano Rocchigiani, Jermain Taylor, James Toney and Yuriorkis Gamboa... and many more
- Was the current trainer of heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko, among others, when he passed
- He didn't like being called Manny