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Tony Burton (1937 - 2016)

Getty Images / WireImage / Jeff Mayer

Tony Burton (1937 - 2016)

Tony Burton, who was a boxer before he turned to acting, most notably as the trainer in six "Rocky" films, has died. He was 77.

Burton died Feb. 25 in California after a long illness, according to multiple news sources.

The actor played the character Tony "Duke" Evers, Apollo Creed's trainer in the first two films in the "Rocky" series that starred Sylvester Stallone. Before that, Burton was a Golden Gloves heavyweight boxing champion during the 1950s in Michigan.

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Actor Carl Weathers, who played Apollo Creed, Rocky’s nemesis, shared his condolences Friday in a tweet.

“@E_Woodyard @TheSlyStallone Sad news. RIP Tony Burton. His intensity and talent helped make the Rocky movies successful. #BePeace,” Weathers tweeted.

Burton, a native of Flint, Michigan, appeared in six "Rocky" movies and went on to co-star on the TV series "Frank's Place."

His other credits include "Assault on Precinct 13," "Sanford and Son," "The Shining," "The A-Team," "Twin Peaks" and "NYPD Blue."

Burton's illness prevented him from acting in "Creed," the latest "Rocky" film, but his sister told Michigan Live, "There's a scene in the restaurant of that movie where his picture is on the wall."

Burton, a California resident for the past 30 years, is survived by his wife, Rae. He was preceded in death by his son, Martin, who died of a heart attack in 2014.

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