British boxing legend, Errol Christie has died aged just 53 years old, after a long battle with cancer that left his body riddled with 100 tumours.
The world-record holding amateur boxer – the only athlete in history to win 10 amateur titles – rose to prominence in the professional ring during the 80s and is credited with initiating the now-common pre-fight sparring scenes.
Christie, the ex-middleweight who was captain of the English amateur boxing team between 1980-83 and won the title of European amateur champion in 1983, lost his last fight, according to an announcement made by his nephew, Cyrus Christie.
Prior to Errol’s death, the Republic of Ireland footballer told the Mirror:
My uncle’s got over 100 tumours in his body, he’s had it for quite a while now – no one has survived that long with what he’s got. The tumours are that strong they’re pushing through his body.
I went down to visit him because he’s only got a while left and he could pass while I’m away with the national team. It could have been the last time I see him. I had to go and give my wishes.
He told me he can’t fight any more, it’s too much for him now — and he’s always been positive. That’s the first time I’ve heard anything negative coming from his mouth.
RIP champ legends never die..heart is broken rest in paradise uncle your not in pain anymore..till we meet again ??? pic.twitter.com/5D6o7Z2YI5
— Cyrus Christie (@cyruschristie) June 11, 2017
It’s been a tough time for my family, but we carry on… His career was phenomenal and there were some records that can’t be beaten.
Since Cyrus made the announcement, tributes to the late, great Christie have flooded social media.
Many of our British sporting finest have paid their respects on Twitter:
RIP Errol Christie – an exceptional fighter and a lovely man ??
— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) June 11, 2017
Very very saddened to hear Errol Christie has passed away after a long battle with cancer, God rest his soul ? such a talented man…RIP pic.twitter.com/Q9RnEv6ifw
— Frank Bruno MBE (@frankbrunoboxer) June 11, 2017
Errol Christie one of the old masters of boxing has passed away.
I sparred with him many times in our early 20s & he was a sweetheart❤️
— Christopher Eubank (@ChrisEubank) June 11, 2017
I was lucky enough to meet Errol Christie once or twice. What a lovely man. Sorry to hear about him passing. RIP
— Carl Frampton MBE (@RealCFrampton) June 11, 2017
Christie’s most notorious fight came in 1985 when he went up against Mark Kaylor, both in and out of the ring.
The pair were bitter rivals – with Christie accusing Kaylor of using racial slurs that his opponent denied – and they went at it in the car park before the bout, long before pre-match bad-mouthing and PR showboating was a common element of the sport.
After hanging up his gloves, Christie went onto stand-up comedy and white-collar boxing coaching. His 2010 autobiography No Place To Hide was long-listed for the William Hill sports writer prize.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.