Canadian Olympic boxer Mark Leduc dies

Gordon Nore

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May 26, 2007
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Canadian Olympic boxer Mark Leduc dies
By John Marchesan, Posted Friday, July 24, 2009 3:57 PM ET

Mark Leduc, who won a silver medal in boxing for Canada at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, has passed away at the age of 47.

According to several media reports, Leduc was found unconscious inside a sauna at a Toronto hotel Sunday morning. He was rushed to a hospital where doctors managed to revive him, however, he died Wednesday of suspected organ failure.

Leduc, the youngest of six children, is survived by his mother and four sisters. His older brother was killed in a car accident 17 years ago.

It was during an 18 month stint for armed robbery at Kingston Penitentiary in the 1980's that Leduc learned to box. Upon leaving prison, he became a fixture on the Canadian national team in the sport before earning his way onto the Canadian team for the 1992 Olympics in the Light Welterweight category.

Not given much of a chance to medal, Leduc easily advanced past four opponents on the way to the final, including Leonard Dorin of Romania who would go on to win the WBA Lightweight championship. In the final he faced Hector Vinent Charon, whom he beat two years earlier in Canada. However, he was no match for the 20-year-old Cuban, who won the gold medal with a convincing 11-1 score. Leduc returned home with the silver medal and was given a heroes welcome in his hometown of Kingston, which held a parade and presented him with the key to the city.

"Winning the silver Olympic medal meant the world to Mark and his family," his brother-in-law Mark Johnson tells the Toronto Star. "He was shocked. I think he believed the reports they were saying that he wouldn't make it very far . But he could throw like an ox and hit like a mule."
Leduc turned pro following his Olympic success but retired in 1993 after compiling a 4-1-0 record. Shortly after that, Leduc publicly acknowledged his homosexuality and became an advocate for the gay community.

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