Alice Ward, Portrayed by Melissa Leo in 'The Fighter,' Dies; Paramount
Alice Ward, left, and Melissa Leo

The mother of retired boxing champion "Irish" Micky Ward was 79 years old.

Alice Ward, who was portrayed by Melissa Leo in her Oscar-winning role in The Fighter, died early Wednesday morning in Boston. Ward, the mother of retired boxing champion "Irish" Micky Ward, was 79.

Dicky Eklund, Micky Ward’s older half-brother, confirmed her death to the Lowell Sun on Wednesday afternoon.

Ward went into cardiac arrest at a Boston hospital in January. She stopped breathing for 45 minutes until Ward regained consciousness and began breathing on her own. On Tuesday, Ward was taken off life support.

"We lost the leader of our family," Eklund told the Lowell Sun. "She was a great woman, a strong woman. She taught us all what it means to be strong because she never gave up on any of us."

Ward raised nine children.

Leo also won a supporting actress Golden Globe and SAG Award this year for her portrayal in David O. Russell's The Fighter, for which Christian Bale also won an Academy Award.