BOXING legend Mills Lane has died aged 85.
The American icon passed away surrounded by family at a hospice in Reno, Nevada.
Lane enjoyed a brief-but-successful boxing career when he was young.
But he was best known as one of the sport’s top referees, overseeing fights including Mike Tyson vs Evander Holyfield in 1997, as well as other boxing legends including Muhammad Ali.
Son Tommy Lane confirmed: “He took a significant decline in his overall situation.
“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.”
Lane first started boxing with the US Marine Corps in 1958 and became the All Far-East welterweight champion when stationed in Okinawa.
He turned professional two years later before stopping boxing with a 10-1 record.
Lane then turned his hand to refereeing in the 70s, eventually taking charge of 100 world championship fights while coining the phrase “let’s get it on.”
His most famous bout came in 1997 when Tyson bit the ear of opponent Holyfield, forcing Lane to stop the fight before disqualifying Tyson.
Tributes came pouring in on social media, with one fan saying: “RIP to one of the most recognizable and influential men in the sport, Mills Lane.”
Another wrote: “The best referee ever in my opinion. RIP.”
One noted: “R.I.P. legend. Let’s get it on!”
Another added: “Sad! I grew up watching him referee some of the greatest fights.”
Mills Lane dead aged 85: Tributes pour in as legendary Mike Tyson vs Evander Holyfield referee passes away | The Sun