Very sad news to report ILOSM family, Tony Burton, the actor who played the boxing trainer, “Duke,” in the Rocky films, passed away on Thursday, February 25, 2016, at the age of 78 years young.
According to MLive.com, Burton had been hospitalized for the past year, but he never received an official diagnosis, so his illness and cause of his death has been a mystery to his family and loved ones.
Burton’s Rocky co-star, Carl Weathers (who played “Apollo”) tweeted the news of Burton’s passing on Thursday: “@E_Woodyard @TheSlyStallone Sad news. RIP Tony Burton. His intensity and talent helped make the Rocky movies successful. #BePeace,” Weathers, wrote.
Burton’s sister, Loretta “Peaches” Kelley, has also confirmed that her big brother has passed away in California.
Although Burton has starred in many films throughout his career, including Stir Crazy in 1980 and Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor King in 1976, he is best known for his role as “Duke,” “Apollo Creed’s” and “Rocky Balboa’s” trainer, in the first 6 Rocky installments. In his real-life, Burton was a professional boxer back in the day and also won the Flint Golden Gloves light heavyweight titles in 1955 and 1957. He is originally from Flint, MI.
He was on the set of the latest Rocky installment, Creed, a few times and catching up on old times with Sylvester Stallone, but unfortunately, due to health concerns, it’s been reported that he never got to see the film after it was released last year, because he was hospitalized soon after visiting the set of the movie.
Tony Burton will sorely be missed and our prayers and condolences are with his family and loved ones. Rest easy Mr. Burton.