1. Headline
  1. Headline
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.

  1. More Entertainment stories
    1. Autistic ballerina dances her way into hearts

      In a popular YouTube video, the beaming little ballerina dances an entire four-minute routine seemingly perfectly, matchin...

    2. Every on-screen drink in 'Mad Men' in 5 minutes
    3. See the 'Dancing' stars' most memorable moves
    4. Emmy's biggest snubs? Cranston, Hamm, more
    5. 'Toy Story' toys burn up in prank on mom

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More on TODAY.com

  1. Joan Lunden: 10 things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed with breast cancer

    From the moment you hear the words ‘You have breast cancer,’ it’s almost like you’re shot out of a cannon. Here are 10 things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed.

    10/1/2014 10:52:45 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T10:52:45
  2. Want to help? A guide to breast cancer charities

    In the United States an estimated 296,000 women and 2,240 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and almost 40,000 women and 410 men will die of the disease. That's one death every 14 minutes, according to the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

    10/1/2014 10:45:11 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T10:45:11
  3. TODAY
Exclusive
  1. TODAY

    Derek Jeter dismisses 'most eligible bachelor' title: 'No, no, no'

    10/1/2014 11:43:39 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T11:43:39
  1. TODAY

    Al, Jay Leno kick off USO comedy tour in Afghanistan

    10/1/2014 11:00:13 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T11:00:13
  1. Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

    video Joan Lunden tells Hoda she’s ‘beating’ cancer; talks to women fighting cancer on the plaza

    10/1/2014 2:05:08 PM +00:00 2014-10-01T14:05:08