The mother of heavyweight great Lennox Lewis died on Thursday, according to her son.
In a lengthy, heartfelt post on social media, Lewis credited his mother, Violet Blake, for allowing him to achieve his “dreams.”
Lewis, who was born in London to Jamaican parents, is regarded as one of the greatest heavyweights of the modern era and is the last heavyweight to have achieved the undisputed distinction.
Blake was 85.
In a Guardian obituary of Blake, author Thomas Hauser describes how Lewis’ mother encountered countless hardships in trying to raise her son, including many stints of separation.
“I’ve come onto these social platforms for many times more than I can count to extend my condolences to friends that have lost family members and loved ones,” Lewis wrote in a post on Instagram.
“I’ve also lost some that [were very] close to me like Arnie Bohem, Manny Steward and my idol, Muhammad Ali…which were all tremendous losses to me personally.
“But with the loss of my mum this morning, it’s an indescribable type of hurt that has me reeling, yet also has me comforted to know she is now in a better place with no more suffering.
"I’ve spent the greater part of my life doing my best to honor her and repay her for all the things that she’s given me in life, and to make her life as comfortable as possible.
“I’m grateful that God has allowed me to this for her. We never know how much time we will have with our mums or loved ones, but I’m thankful for the time, love, life, and lessons she has given me over a lifetime.
“Mum, you are gone now and I’m praying you’re in a better place. Thank you for the foundation of love, discipline, and support that made all my dreams come true. None of it could have ever been without you, nor could any of it have meant anything without you.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.