Former boxer Errol Christie has lost his battle with cancer aged 53.
Announced by his nephew on Twitter, the death of the former amateur European champion brought tributes from across the sporting world, most notably led by the boxing community. Ex-heavyweight champion Frank Bruno stated: “Very very saddened to hear Errol Christie has passed away after a long battle with cancer, God rest his soul. such a talented man…RIP.”
At the height of his popularity, Christie’s fights were followed by millions, however, after racking up several wins, numerous losses appeared to derail his career. This was also reflected by struggles within his personal life. It was at this point his popularity began to decline and he faded from public view.
This coincided with the stock market crash in 1987, at which point he lost both a home and his beloved Porsche.
In 2010, he released a book documenting the ups-and-downs of his life, focusing on the hardships he had faced both inside and outside the ring.
Despite being expected to go the very top of the boxing profession, financial difficulties stemming from a declining career forced him to take up a wide range of low paid jobs; this included a 14-year period as a market stall trader.
Christie discovered he had cancer following his arrest after an inadvertent run-in with a police officer. Recalling the incident in 2016, he told the Daily Mail: “After a while they let me go but there was pain around my chest for a few days that I thought was from the copper, so I went to the hospital for an X-ray. They had a look and saw something. That was it. Cancer.”
Commenting on his uncle’s illness earlier this month, Christie’s nephew Cyrus spoke to the Mirror about his uncle’s toughest fight yet.
“I went down to visit him because he’s only got a while left and he could pass while I’m away with the national team. It could have been the last time I see him. I had to go and give my wishes.
“He told me he can’t fight anymore, it’s too much for him now — and he’s always been positive. That’s the first time I’ve heard anything negative coming from his mouth.”
Christie leaves behind his 26-year-old son, Louie Christie, who aims to follow in his father’s footsteps.