DETROIT - Legendary boxing trainer Emanuel Steward remains in the care of doctors and is still alive, despite numerous reports of his passing.
I have been in contact with his sister, Diane Steward-Jones, who issued the following statement via text to me at 11:25am Thursday morning:
"You can tell folks that he is alive and being treated by some of the best experts in the world. The Steward family is dismayed and greatly disheartened and disappointed that during this personally challenging time, people would callously and thoughtlessly run wild with untrue statements in order to garner their '15 minutes of fame.'
"Where is the moral compass of those seeking to capitalize on this situation? Does anybody take the time to check out the facts anymore?
"Many of those issuing reckless statements have our phone numbers as well as Emanuel's office number and yet, they haven't called, just issued statements that are terrorizing Emanuel's children, siblings and relatives that aren't able to be here at the hospital.
"SHAME ON THEM! He has feelings and we, his family, have feelings. Consider that and give us our privacy to help our loved ones."
The 68 year-old Steward has been battling an unspecified illness over the past few months and the family has asked for prayers for his recovery.
It was reported late Wednesday on the website of the Detroit Free Press that Steward recently underwent surgery for diverticulosis.
Steward began training boxers in 1971 and is most famous for his work with world champions Thomas Hearns, Hilmer Kenty, Wladimir Klitschko, Miguel Cotto, Oscar de la Hoya and Cornelius "K9" Bundrage.
He fortified the Kronk Gym and transformed it into a boxing haven, respected around the world as one of the best training centers in the world.
Steward was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997 and is also a member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame. He has served as a ringside analyst for HBO's coverage of boxing for many years.