Hackney boxing champion Kirkland Laing has died aged 66, seven years after he fell from a balcony in Hackney. The troubled fighter retired from boxing in 1994 after securing 43 victories—including a historic win against US champion Roberto Duran. After leaving the sport, he had several run-ins with the law and was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Laing's death was reported by the BBC, which said he had fallen from a third-floor apartment block balcony in London. His family told the broadcaster that they believed he had gone out for a walk but may not have returned. They added that they were planning to hold a service and place an armchair on the balcony next week to remember him.
Laing was born in Edinburgh on January 4, 1945. He began boxing at the age of 17 when he moved to London to work as a bus driver. It was here that he met future world champion Henry Cooper, who encouraged him to take up the sport seriously. In 1964, at the age of 25, Laing won his first professional fight. Three years later, he became British light heavyweight champion. But his career was cut short when he suffered multiple skull fractures after being hit by a car outside a pub where he had been drinking.
After recovering, he decided to retire from boxing but was persuaded to return by former world champion Roberto Duran.
Former heavyweight boxing champion Leon Spinks died at the age of 67. According to family friend Joe Bernal, boxing icon Leon Spinks died on Friday night at the age of 67 in a Henderson, Nevada, hospital near his home after battling prostate cancer for several years.
Spinks won the title in 1978 when he defeated Larry Holmes in one of boxing's most controversial championship matches. The victory made him only the second black heavyweight champion in history (Jack Johnson being the first). However, it took almost 10 years before he was able to defend his title. In 1988, he returned from a third-round knockout loss to Michael Dokes to defeat Dokes in seven rounds.
After that fight, Spinks never regained his former glory and retired with three wins and four losses from his last five fights. He came back into the spotlight in 1993 when he challenged Mike Tyson for his title but was easily knocked out in six rounds. After that fight, Spinks retired for good this time and moved to Florida where he opened a sports bar.
He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004 and later underwent surgery to remove part of his bladder and intestines as a result of complications caused by the disease.
In February 2010, Spinks returned to the ring for one more fight at the age of 56.
Kenny Kirkland, a pianist, was discovered dead in his Queens, New York, residence. According to reports, drug paraphernalia was found near the deceased. His passing brought back memories of the post-World War II era in jazz, when early mortality was considerably more prevalent than it is now. Some of the most notable deaths during this time period include John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and Charles Mingus.
Kevin Kirkland was born on January 4th, 1945, in Brooklyn, New York. He was raised by his single mother after his father died when he was young. At an early age, he showed an interest in music, learning to play the piano. By the time he reached high school, he had become one of the top jazz artists in his hometown. In 1964, at the age of 20, he moved to Manhattan to pursue his career. There, he met and became good friends with several musicians who would later become famous themselves, including Alice Coltrane, who married his brother John. In 1966, Kevin Kirkland released his first album, New Thing, which was well received by both critics and listeners. Over the next few years, he continued to release albums, most recently in 2014.
In 1970, Kevin Kirkland married singer Alice Coltrane; they had two children together.