German boxing mourns René Weller. The former European champion died on Tuesday evening at the age of 69.
His wife Maria confirmed a corresponding report by the "Bild" newspaper to the German Press Agency on Wednesday night. "Hand in hand and in my arms you left me at 5:50pm today at home in peace," she wrote on their shared Instagram page.
Weller, who lived in his hometown of Pforzheim, had been suffering from dementia for years, and he and his wife made the disease public in the summer of 2021. "You fought like a lion but unfortunately lost your last fight," the Instagram post continued. "I thank you for the beautiful life and our unique great love."
Weller's approaching death had become apparent in the past few days. His wife asked his friends to say goodbye to him. Weller made the illness difficult to create at the end. "It can end with the champ every day," Maria Weller told the "Bild" newspaper. Most recently, her husband only ate "semolina porridge with sugar and cinnamon" and "some cocoa".
Weller won the 1983 World Athletic Association super featherweight championship by defeating American James Ortega in the first round with a knockout. A year later he also became European champion.
He only lost the belt in his fifth title defense against eventual WBO champion Gert Bo Jacobsen. That was the only loss of his professional career. By the time he turned pro, the 1976 Olympic competitor had fought a total of 355 amateur bouts, winning 338 of them.
But Weller also became famous for his extravagant appearances and outfits. In the ring he wore glittering shorts with loud messages, for pictures he posed half-naked with finger-thick gold chains on motorcycles. "The beautiful René" - that's what Weller was often called in the media.
The five-time "Boxer of the Year" also made headlines with his 1999 arrest and arrest. Among other things, Weller was sentenced to seven years in prison for dealing in stolen goods and cocaine, four of which he had to serve. After his release, Weller tried his hand at being an actor, musician, boxing trainer and initiator of an entertainment show.
The Wellers have already planned everything for the funeral service. According to Maria Weller, six former boxers are to carry the coffin into the chapel, while the song "Time to say goodbye" by Andrea Bocelli is to be played. The inside of the coffin is lined with Harley-Davidson bed linen, while the outside is decorated with a red rose, Weller's original boxing gloves and a German flag.