Mark Leduc Dead At 47
 
By Jacqui Snow


Yesterday evening, I was relaxing on my front porch with my husband and a few friends when the long-term boyfriend of our dear friend and neighbor, Mark Leduc, crossed the street to our house to deliver, through tears, the terrible news that Mark had passed away the previous day. He’d fallen asleep in a sauna and never woken up. Attempts to revive him at the hospital had failed.
 
We met Mark Leduc about ten years ago at a neighborhood block party. We first became friends due to a mutual love for the sport of boxing. (I’m the co-moderator of the Myspace boxing group). Like so many before him, Mark had found boxing as a way out of a troubled life. He’d run away from home at an early age, landed on the streets where he began using drugs, and finally ended up in prison for armed robbery. That’s where he learned to box. Leduc swore to turn his life around once he got out—and he did. He made the 1992 Canadian Olympic boxing team, where he was considered a long shot to even make it out of the first round. But Leduc prevailed, and brought home the silver medal with his stunning upset win over Leonard Dorin, a future WBA champ. He briefly turned pro and won the Canadian light-welterweight championship before retiring in 1993.
 
Leduc came out as gay in 1994, which, of course, is something that very few athletes have the courage to do. He was very active in the Toronto gay community and volunteered with the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation. In 1999, he was Grand Marshal of the Toronto Gay Pride Parade.
 
My husband and I became good friends with Leduc over the years and he was a regular visitor to our home. He would often come by to watch the fights with us on TV. Most recently, he joined us to watch Manny Pacquiao’s devastating knockout victory over Ricky Hatton. Leduc was intelligent, soft-spoken and insightful, which made it a real treat to watch boxing matches with him. He also had a terrific sense of humor and a charming humility: He described the time he fought current welterweight champ Shane Mosley in the amateurs by saying, “Boy! Did Shane ever kick my ass!”
 
Mark Leduc is a Canadian sports icon and a hero to many. More importantly, though, he was a kind soul, a nice person—a good guy. I feel very privileged to have been Mark Leduc’s friend.
 
Rest in peace, champ.
 
Jacqui Snow