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
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
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.