Terry Spinks dies: Youngest British boxing Olympic gold medallist passes away

Boxing mourns death of Spinks after Olympic legend loses battle with illness

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UPDATED:

09:10 GMT, 27 April 2012

Terry Spinks, the youngest Briton to win an Olympic boxing gold medal, has died at his home in Essex following a long illness. He was 74.

Spinks won flyweight gold at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics aged just 18, beating Romania's Mircea Dobrescu in the final.

Legend: Terry Spinks, who won Olympic gold for Great Britain in 1956, has passed away aged 74

Legend: Terry Spinks, who won Olympic gold for Great Britain in 1956, has passed away aged 74

As a professional, the east Londoner won 41 of his 49 fights, including winning the British featherweight championship, before retiring at the age of 24.

British Boxing Board of Control general secretary Robert Smith said: 'We are very sad Terry has passed away. He was a great boxer and a very nice guy.

Great Briton: Spinks shows his gold medal after he defeated Romanian Mircea Dobrescu in Melbourne

Great Briton: Spinks shows his gold medal after he defeated Romanian Mircea Dobrescu in Melbourne

'He was an Olympic gold medallist at 18, which is very young, certainly when he was fighting boxers from Russia and the Eastern bloc, men who were 25 or 26.

'He was also a very good professional boxer, but most importantly he was a nice person.'

Sorrow: The flyweight hero, who was awarded an MBE, sadly lost his long battle against illness

Sorrow: The flyweight hero, who was awarded an MBE, sadly lost his long battle against illness

After hanging up his gloves, Spinks became a successful trainer, including coaching the South Korean boxing team at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

In 2002, Spinks was awarded an MBE for services to boxing and charity work.