Sunday 11 December 2016

Rocky star Tony Burton has died aged 78

Actor played Apollo Creed's trainer in the franchise

Independent.ie newsdesk and agencies

Published 26/02/2016 | 08:42

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 13: Actors Tony Burton and Sylvester Stallone pose at the premiere of MGM's
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 13: Actors Tony Burton and Sylvester Stallone pose at the premiere of MGM's "Rocky Balboa" after party held at the Hollywood and Highland Ballroom, on December 13, 2006 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Rocky star Tony Burton has died, aged 78.

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The actor was most famous for playing Apollo Creed's trainer Duke in the boxing franchise, which starred Sylvester Stallone in the title role.

According to Tony's sister Loretta 'Peaches' Kelley, he had been battling health problems for the past year and had been in and out of hospital, but had never received an official diagnosis.

He passed away on Thursday afternoon, Loretta told the website MLive.com.

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 13: Actors Tony Burton and Sylvester Stallone pose at the premiere of MGM's
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 13: Actors Tony Burton and Sylvester Stallone pose at the premiere of MGM's "Rocky Balboa" after party held at the Hollywood and Highland Ballroom, on December 13, 2006 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Tony was one of only four actors to appear in all six movies in the Rocky franchise, but his health struggles meant he wasn't able to see the latest reinvention of the tale, Creed, before his passing.

"There's a scene in the restaurant of that movie (Creed) where his picture is on the wall," Loretta said. "We didn't talk about (Rocky) a lot. I mean we were excited, but other people were more excited."

Tony is survived by wife Rae. The pair had a son Martin who died in May, 2014 aged 43 after having a heart attack.

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