Los Angeles: Tony Burton, best known for starring in the ‘Rocky films as the trainer of both Apollo Creed and Rocky Balboa, has died at the age of 78.
He died in California on Thursday after a long fight with illness, reports dailymail.co.uk.
The 78-year-old had been in and out of hospital for the past year, however he never received an official diagnosis.
His younger sister Loretta Kelley confirmed the news to the Flint native’s home state news website Michigan Live.
Carl Weathers, who played Apollo, tweeted: ‘Sad news. RIP Tony Burton. His intensity and talent helped make the Rocky movies successful. #BePeace.’
The actor appeared in all seven of the films in the franchise.
Burton played Tony ‘Duke’ Evers – a no-nonsense trainer who in the first two films supported Apollo Creed, Balboa’s opponent.
In the later films he became the trainer to Balboa, famously played by Sylvester Stallone, helping him defeat foes such as Clubber Lang and Ivan Drago.
The actor — a native of Flint, Michigan — won Flint Golden Gloves light heavyweight titles in 1955 and again in 1957, before fighting professionally briefly.
He also featured in films like ‘The Shining’ and ‘Stir Crazy.