Famed boxing trainer Emanuel Steward, who was in the corner of champions such as Thomas "Hitman" Hearns, Oscar De La Hoya and Wladimir Klitschko, died Thursday in a Chicago hospital, his executive assistant said.
Steward passed away at 1:46 p.m. CT (2:46 p.m. ET), said Victoria Kirton, who did not provide any further details. He was 68.
A national Golden Gloves champion himself in 1963 at 18, Steward hung up his boxing gloves soon thereafter and took a job at Detroit Edison Company, according to his official bio from HBO, for which he was a commentator.
But he returned to the sport as a Detroit-based trainer in 1971, and he went on to work with some of the biggest names in the business. His pupils - among them more than two dozen champions, by HBO's count - include Sugar Ray Leonard, Julio Cesar Chavez, Leon Spinks, Evander Holyfield and Klitschko, the current WBA, WBO and IBF champion.
"It is not often that a person in any line of work gets a chance to work with a legend," the Ukrainian boxer said on his website. "Well I was privileged enough to work with one for almost a decade.
"I will miss our time together - the long talks about boxing, the world and life itself. Most of all, I will miss our friendship."
He continued working with boxers into his 60s, while also weighing in on big fights for HBO Sports. (HBO is a division of Time Warner, as is CNN.)
Ken Hershman, the president of HBO Sports, lauded Steward as "respected colleague who taught us so much not only about the sweet science but also about friendship and loyalty."
"His energy, enthusiasm and bright smile were a constant presence," Hershman said. " Ten bells do not seem enough to mourn his passing."