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Rocky Balboa’s trainer, Tony Burton dies at 78

By Ruchel Louis Coetzee
Posted On Feb 26, 2016

Actor Tony Burton, who played the part of the tough trainer, Toni ‘Duke’ Evers in six of the Rocky movies, has died in California at 78. The cause of death is unknown, but his younger sister, Loretta Kelly, confirmed that he had been in and out of hospitals battling an illness for a long time.

The timing could not have been more poignant. His death comes days before the Academy Awards, where Stallone is favored to win best supporting actor for his role in the 2015 Rocky spinoff, Creed.  Kelly told the BBC that her brother never had the chance to see the movie because of poor health.

Carl Weather, who played Apollo Creed, tweeted: “Sad news. RIP Tony Burton. His intensity and talent helped make the Rocky movies successful.” MGM, the studio behind the Rocky films, tweeted: “Rest in Peace, Tony.”

Burton was from Flint, Michigan. Before his acting career, he had a brief boxing career where he won the Flint Golden Gloves light heavyweight championship in 1955 and 1957. He was also a two- time all-state football player and a talented chess player.

In 1993, Burton was inducted into the Greater Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the whole family.