Ferocious. Tough. Fair ... all capable of describing boxing Hall of Famer and longtime referee Mills Lane, who died at the age of 85 on Tuesday after his significant decline in health.
Lane had been under care at a hospice for the past week, as reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal, leading up to his passing.
News of his death was announced by son Tommy Lane, who noted that Mills died peacefully in the company of his family.
"He took a significant decline in his overall situation," Lane announced on Tuesday. "It was a quick departure. He was comfortable and he was surrounded by his family."
You never knew how long he had. We kind of felt like we were preparing for this all along., but there's no such thing as preparing for this."
Mills Lane: The Man Who'd Done It All, Then Some
A U.S. Marine in 1957; professional boxing ref from 1971 to 1998; prosecutor, judge and elected district attorney in the 80s and 90s; as well as featured TV judge and animated ref on Celebrity Deathmatch.
No lane was too far for Mills to cross into — a versatility that enriched his legacy.
Lane's health took a dip after a massive stroke in 2002.
His legacy wears more than one identity for the protean, Savannah-born Lane — always managing to be at the center of a front-page-worthy story.
The infamous fight between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield in 1997, which included Holyfield getting a chunk of his ear bitten off, became the most prominent story that included Lane in the picture.
As crowds booed the referee for his stoppage after Tyson went for the second bite on EH, Lane held his ground before the critics.
"How many times do you want him to get bit?" Lane fiercely answered before reporters. "There's a g*dd*mn limit to everything, ya know, including bites."
After selling his history-making referee's shirt from the "Bite Fight," Lane joked that he would've auctioned it for a higher price if able to relive the event.
Lane had sold the rights to his shirt one hour before the Holyfield-Tyson fight to a Canadian man for $200.
''What I should've done was hold my shirt up and start the bidding at $200,'' Lane said, as relayed by The New York Times. ''I could've probably gotten $4,000 for it, but, oh well, I'd given the man my word.''
Rest in Peace