Spinks lost his five-year battle with prostate and other cancers on Friday evening.
“At the time of his death, his wife Brenda Glor Spinks was at his side. Due to Covid restrictions, there were only a few close friends and other family,” the statement read.
Spinks was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and represented the United States during the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada, as a light heavyweight and won a gold medal.
He faced Muhammad Ali in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 15, 1978, and won to become the undisputed heavyweight boxing champion. This was Spinks’ eighth professional match and one of the greatest surprises in boxing history.
Spinks and Ali met again seven months later at the Super Dome in New Orleans. Ali won and regained the heavyweight title.
He had been fighting for the heavyweight crown on only one occasion, losing to Larry Holmes in 1981.
Spinks retired in 1995 with a record of 26-17-3 with 14 knockouts. In 2017, he was inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.
He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2019. He was hospitalized in December of that year after cancer had spread to his bladder.
The publicity statement went on to say, “Leon fought his battle with many ailments with flexibility, never losing his signature smile. He showed true Spinks determination, never throwing the towel.”