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Thousands gather to remember boxing icon Emanuel Steward

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  • Emanuel Steward remembered as Detroit icon

    Emanuel Steward remembered as Detroit icon

    Friday, October 26 2012 8:03 AM EDT2012-10-26 12:03:07 GMT
    FOX 2 has confirmed Emanuel Steward, the owner of the legendary Kronk Gym and one of boxing's greatest trainers, has died. He was 68.
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By Jennifer Hammond
Fox 2 Sports Reporter


DETROIT (WJBK) -- A who's who of boxing champions and Detroit legends gathered at Greater Grace Temple on Tuesday to celebrate the life and mourn the passing of Emanuel Steward, who became famous as a trainer and owner of the Kronk Gym.

"I just love him.  I mean, he was so special to me.  He's been in my home.  He's been with my kids, my wife.  He's family," said five time world title holder Sugar Ray Leonard.

Aretha Franklin provided a musical tribute, but it was six-time champ Thomas Hearns who provided the most emotional moment of the service when he broke down in tears at the pulpit. (pictured above)

"You've got to remember Tommy was a young man when (Steward) took him in, so Tommy (looks) at (Steward) as a father figure, so that's just like his father passed," said brother Billy Hearns.

Elected into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996, Steward lived and breathed the sport of boxing, but it was his common touch that made him the champion of champions.

"He's the greatest trainer that ever lived," said former world heavy weight champion Lennox Lewis.

"It's just a tremendous loss because there are not many people as knowledgeable about the sport of boxing as the great Emanuel Steward, and when we lose one like that, it's very hard to replace them," said former heavy weight title holder Roy Jones, Junior.

The three hour service was so humbling.  It was amazing just to be in the room with so many boxing greats and to hear how Steward touched and changed all of their lives really gave you a true picture of the man.

Officials said nearly 4,000 people packed into Greater Grace Temple to pay their respects to Steward, who died last month at the age of 68.

Fox 2 News staff contributed to this report.

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