The mother of former world champion Micky Wardand his half-brother, Dicky Eklund, died Tuesday in Boston. She was 79.
Alice Ward had been hospitalized since suffering a massive heart attackin January. She passed away one day after being removed from life support at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
"We lost the leader of our family," Eklund told the Lowell Sun. "She was a great woman, a strong woman. She taught us all what it means to be strong because she never gave up on any of us."
Mrs. Ward was recently portrayed by Oscar winner Melissa Leoin "The Fighter," a feature film about Micky and Dicky.
Leo portrayed her as a boozy, feisty and foul-mouthed matriarch in the film, but defended her afterward in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
"There's no way in hell that when I played Alice Ward that I was playing a bad mother. Quite the opposite," the actress said. "And if her whole story doesn't get told, well, it's not her movie, for God's sake. If you want to sit down with me for a week, I'll explain every heartbeat of how she does what she does and why she does it, and that she's not selfish, and she's entirely sympathetic."
She had been in failing health for the past few years and stopped breathing for more than 30 minutes after going into cardiac arrestin January.
She is survived by her eight children. She also raised her grandson, Dick Eklund Jr.
Dennis Taylor is editor/publisher of www.ringsideboxingshow.com and co-host of The Ringside Boxing Show.