The wife of boxing legend “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler says he died peacefully at the New Hampshire home they shared together, rejecting rumors circulating that the COVID-19 vaccine caused his death.
“I was the only person close to him until the last minute,” wrote Hagler’s wife Kay on Facebook, “and I am the only person that know how things went not even his family know all the details and I do NOT accept to read some stupid comment without knowing really what happen. For sure wasn’t the vaccine that caused his death.” The two married in 2000 in Piotello, Italy.
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Hagler, one of the all-time greatest middleweight fighters, died Saturday (March 13) at age 66. The cause of death has not yet been publicized. According to Boxing Insider, just before he passed away, his former boxing rival and eventual friend Thomas Hearns posted a since-deleted note to social media saying that the boxer was “in ICU fighting the after effects of the vaccine! He’ll be just fine but we could use the positive energy and Prayer for his Full Recovery!” That post reportedly led to unsubstantiated rumors that Hagler’s death was a result of taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
Hearns, himself a boxing legend, later clarified his comment on Instagram saying that he did not intend to start any rumors. “Allow us to have our peace,” he wrote. “Our love and respect to Marvin and his family, this is not an anti vaccine campaign. It’s outrageous to have that in mind during the passing of a King, Legend, Father, Husband and so much more.”
Hagler defeated Hearns in a 1985 bout that, despite lasting only three rounds, is considered one of the greatest boxing clashes in history. “I’m happy that a lot of people have a lot of respect for the fight,” Hearns told Boxing News in 2016, laughingly. “People say they’re the three greatest rounds in boxing. Let me just say they’re the three greatest rounds that I ever put out.”
Hagler reigned as the undisputed middleweight champion from 1980 to 1987, defending the championship 12 times, including in the fight with Hearns. He finished his professional career with 62 wins (52 by knockout). He lost three fights, all by decision, and had two draws.
He is not the first sports legend to have false rumors swirl about the COVID-19 vaccine causing his death. Baseball icon Hank Aaron, who died Jan. 22, was also rumored to have succumbed to the effects of the vaccine. But both Morehouse School of Medicine, the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms quickly shot down that gossip. “His passing was not related to the vaccine, nor did he experience any side effects from the immunization,” Morehouse said in a statement given to WSB-TV.