Bilal Abdullah Muhammad, longtime boxing coach at Moton Community House in Newport News, died Sunday.
Executive director of Moton Community House, Linwood DeBrew, said Muhammad was at Moton on Sunday, working in the ring, when he stepped out and put his head in his hands.
"And that was it," DeBrew said. "He died in the work that he loved, boxing."
Muhammad was taken to the hospital, DeBrew said, and died of heart failure. He was 71.
Muhammad, who worked with champions including Mike Tyson, Pernell Whitaker and Lennox Lewis, was a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and also was a member of the Southeast Community Day Planning Committee.
DeBrew worked with Muhammad for 30 years. "I have all sorts of mixed emotions right now," DeBrew said Monday. "Every day we been together for the better part of 30 years."
In a release, Andrew Shannon, SCLC Chapter President and Founder/Organizer Southeast Community Day, said, ""Bilal Abdullah Muhammad was an exceptional coach, passionate community volunteer, genuine foot soldier and freedom fighter."
Muhammad had been training future fighters, including a few from the Peninsula who had qualified for the Olympic trials, for the better part of 40 years, DeBrew said. "He really put a lot into boxing," he said, adding that Muhammad liked the discipline and science of the sport.
Muhammad is survived by a brother, sister and two sons. A funeral is scheduled for Friday in Smithfield.
DeBrew said the Moton Community House, which is located at 2101 Jefferson Avenue in Newport News, will host a memorial service on Thursday. A time has not been decided.Copyright © 2015, CT Now