Boxing ring (illustration)
Boxing ring (illustration)iStock

Legendary middleweight boxer Marvelous Marvin Hagler has died unexpectedly at the age of 66.

Hagler, who dominated his class for most of the 1980s, is regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all-time. During his era, he fought against the biggest names in boxing and was considered one of the "four kings" of the middleweight world. He faced off against the other three and came out ahead, defeating Thomas Hearns in a classic KO win, beating Roberto Duran by unanimous decision and in 1988 famously losing to Sugar Ray Leonard in a split decision match that so anguished him that it triggered his retirement.

Hagler was born in 1954 in Newark, New Jersey but moved with his parents to Brockton, Massachusetts following the Newark Riots in 1967. He began his boxing career by accident. After getting beaten up by a local boxer while his friends looked on, he decided to join a boxing gym the next day. Eventually, he faced and beat the boxer who had bested him on the street.

Known for being a lefty with a bald head and a menacing personality in the ring, post-boxing Hagler moved to Italy where he became a popular actor starring in action films.

His wife Kay announced his death on Facebook. "I am sorry to make a very sad announcement. Today unfortunately my beloved husband Marvelous Marvin passed away unexpectedly at his home here in New Hampshire. Our family requests that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."