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updated 4/27/2011 7:57:46 PM ET 2011-04-27T23:57:46

Alice Ward, the matriarch of a Massachusetts boxing clan who was portrayed in "The Fighter" in an Oscar-winning performance by Melissa Leo, has died. She was 79.

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Family friend John Descoteaux says Ward died at a Boston hospital Wednesday, one day after she was taken off life support. She had gone into cardiac arrest in January and stopped breathing for more than 30 minutes.

In "The Fighter," Ward is portrayed as a bleach-blond, boozy, lovingly domineering mother to boxers Micky Ward and his half-brother, Dicky Eklund. Micky Ward rose from his blue-collar roots and overcame ugly squabbling with his relatives to earn a boxing title shot in 2000, when he was in his mid-30s.

Alice Ward is survived by nine children.

Funeral plans have not been finalized.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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