Leon Spinks was diagnosed with prostate cancer in June of last year, which has now spread to his bones, according to USA Today.
Back in November, he was given just two weeks to live by one of his doctors. Today he’s still fighting for his life and lives with his spouse Brenda Spinks in Henderson, Nevada.
“He’s a champion, he’s going to keep fighting,” said Brenda about Leon, who now uses a walker and wheelchair.
Brenda’s 29-year-old son Michael has moved into the Nevada home to help care for Leon, and her sister Sherry helps out too. There’s also a caregiver who comes by seven days a week.
Some of Leon’s family members also have helped out, like his sister Karen, who lived in Henderson for a month to care for her brother. Leon’s brother Michael Spinks also lent his support, as did Leon’s sons Corey and Daryl and his grandson Leon Spinks III.
Leon underwent three rounds of chemotherapy after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and then made an improvement. But things later took a turn for the worse, and on Aug. 21 of last year he was admitted to a hospital, where he stayed for four months.
Besides battling cancer, Leon also dealt with other serious ailments, like a staph infection, inflammation of the colon, and aspiration pneumonia. He was eventually put on a ventilator, and Brenda was confronted with the option of signing a do-not-resuscitate order.
“I just couldn’t do it,’’ she said about the order. “It was horrible because there were a few times I didn’t think he was going to make it. I just tried to have hope. A lot of people praying.”
Leon, who was born in St. Louis in 1953, won an Olympic gold medal in light heavyweight boxing in 1976.
He’s best known for becoming the heavyweight champion in 1978 after defeating Muhammad Ali in a split decision, which is still considered one of the biggest upsets in pro boxing ever.
Leon’s brother Michael also won an Olympic gold medal in 1976 and held championship belts in professional boxing in the heavyweight division as well as the light heavyweight division.