Openly Gay Boxer, Mark Leduc, Died at 47

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Mark Leduc, the openly gay boxer who took home the 1992 Barcelona Olympic silver medal for boxing died Wednesday in a Toronto hospital.  He was found in a local hotel sauna and is believed to have died as a result of heat stroke. 

Leduc was a surprise medalist at the '92 games since many didn't believe he had a chance against better known boxing stars of the time. Mark Johnson, Leduc's brother-in-law said "He was shocked. I think he believed the reports they were saying that he wouldn't make it very far ... But he could throw like an ox and hit like a mule."

Shortly after winning the silver medal Leduc joined the professional ranks and won the 1993 Canadian super lightweight championship.  However his professional career ended shortly after when he retired the following year.

In 1994 Leduc publicly came out and quickly became an advocate for gay rights and the gay community.  He was a vocal spokesperson and was featured in 1994 documentary For the Love of the Game.  He also volunteered for the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation.

"Although stigma has changed somewhat towards HIV/AIDS, it's still prevalent for the clients we work for," said Murray Jose, the foundation's executive director. "Any opportunity to have a champion from sports (volunteering) helps."

Tags: Lifestyle