New York: Howard Davis Jr, who won a boxing gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympics in the lightweight category, has died of lung cancer at the age of 59.
Davis died on Wednesday after a battle with lung cancer, his brother Kenny confirmed on Friday. Kenny described his sibling as a “very special man, husband and friend”, reports Efe.
Although legendary pugilists Sugar Ray Leonard, Michael Spinks and Teofilo Stevenson also fought at that same Summer Games, Davis – whose boxing style earned him comparisons to Muhammad Ali – received the Val Barker trophy for most outstanding Olympic fighter.
Davis competed in the Olympics just days after learning that his mother had died of a heart attack.
His success in Montreal, where he won all five of his bouts, would prove to be the chief highlight of his career since he never won a world title as a professional.
Although he had never been a smoker, the native of Long Island, New York, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer last February.
“I’ve never questioned ‘Why me?'” the former boxer told the New York Post in August. “God chose me to have this disease for a reason, and I have to find out the purpose and I’m kind of figuring it out why.”
Doctors had given Davis less than a year to live due to the advanced stage of his illness.