Olympic Boxer Okorodudu Passes Away, Hospital Retains Body Over Unsettled Debts

Olympic Boxer Okorodudu Passes Away, Hospital Retains Body Over Unsettled Debts

Renowned former Nigerian boxer, Jeremiah ‘Jerry’ Okorodudu, tragically passed away on Wednesday night, leaving a void in the boxing community. His demise, at the age of 64, occurred at a private hospital in Lawanson, Lagos, after a protracted fight with a debilitating foot ulcer that had him bedridden for an extended period.

Okorodudu, whose legendary status in the Nigerian boxing scene remains unquestionable, was a symbol of strength, resilience, and commitment. His illustrious boxing career, punctuated by numerous local and international bouts, peaked when he represented Nigeria in the middleweight category at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.

Adenike, Okorodudu’s heartbroken wife, verified the news of her husband’s untimely death. However, the moment of grieving has been further complicated by an outstanding medical bill of N600,000, which the hospital insists on settling before releasing the body. “He is dead now but we still need to pay N600,000 to get his body out of the hospital,” a distressed Adenike shared.

Last week, reports trickling in suggested that the ex-Olympian was showing signs of improvement. Following a series of transfers across various hospitals – primarily due to financial constraints – he was eventually admitted to the Lawanson hospital. Despite his critical condition, the spirit of the former pugilist seemed undeterred, evoking hopes of a recovery.

Remi Aboderin, the Secretary-General of the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control and the President of the West Africa Boxing Union, confirmed Okorodudu’s passing. “It is true about his death. I just confirmed it after you called me and I reached out to some colleagues,” Aboderin said, clearly taken aback by the unfortunate news. “It is unfortunate that he died this way, and I am actually lost for words. May his soul rest in peace,” he mournfully added.

Azania Omo-Agege, Vice President of the Nigeria Boxing Federation, revealed he had recently provided financial support towards Okorodudu’s escalating hospital bills. “I just sent them money yesterday (Tuesday). I sent them N100,000 and we were planning for the amputation (of his leg) on Friday, this is very sad,” Omo-Agege lamented.

Before stepping onto the global stage at the 1984 Olympic Games, Okorodudu had already distinguished himself at home, clinching a gold medal at the Oluyole 1979 National Sports Festival in Ibadan. However, his sterling career was eclipsed by health challenges in 2020 when a boil affliction significantly impaired his mobility. Okorodudu underwent successful surgery at Dans Hospital, Ikorodu, Lagos, but his health declined after a foot ulcer diagnosis and a subsequent stroke.

The untimely death of Jeremiah Okorodudu serves as a poignant reminder of the precarious conditions under which many athletes, particularly in the developing world, live and retire. His legacy, both as a boxer and a patriot, will continue to inspire countless generations in Nigeria and beyond. May his fighting spirit live on, and his soul find eternal peace.

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