NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Ralph Boston, a track and field icon and Olympic gold medalist, has died, according to a statement from Tennessee State University. He was 83.

On Sunday, April 30, the university and the university’s athletics department announced the passing of Boston via Twitter posts.

“With great sadness, we announce the passing of TSU legend, Olympic gold medalist, and track and field icon Ralph Boston,” stated TSU.

| READ MORE | Latest headlines from Nashville and Davidson County

The TSU alumnus won three Olympic medals, including a gold medal in 1960. According to TSU Athletics, Boston brought home a gold medal during the 1960 Rome Games, a silver medal in the 1964 Tokyo Games and a bronze medal at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

In 1960, Boston became the first person to break the 27-feet barrier in the long jump and won the NCAA outdoor title. The previous long jump world record was set by Jesse Owens in 1935.

Carl Lewis, a former American track and field athlete and one of the most decorated athletes of all time, expressed his sadness after learning of Boston’s death.

“I’m devastated about Ralph Boston’s passing. As a child I idolized him and he was a major influence in my life. I’ll miss his voice and support. He changed the game as an athlete, advocate and mentor. Jumpers, Know his name!!! Rest with the greats,” said Lewis.

⏩ Read today’s top stories on

Boston was a member of the inaugural class into the Collegiate Track and Field Athlete Hall of Fame.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be released to the public.