Joe Louis' sister dies outside of assisted-living facility

Updated: February 22, 2008, 1:04 PM ET
Associated Press

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- The 92-year-old sister of boxing great Joe Louis was found frozen to death outside her apartment at an assisted-living center.

The body of Vunies High, who had Alzheimer's disease, was found Monday outside The Heatherwood retirement complex in Southfield, a Detroit suburb, said Capt. Tom Colombo of Southfield emergency medical services.

High, who spent 25 years as a teacher and counselor for Detroit Public Schools, was last seen Sunday. When she was found, she was dressed only in pajamas and was wearing one shoe, with the other lying nearby. An autopsy shows she died of hypothermia.

An official at Swanson's Funeral Home in Detroit confirmed that High was Louis' sister. A message seeking comment was left Wednesday at The Heatherwood.

Southfield police Lt. Nick Loussia told The Detroit News that there was no indication of any crime.

Louis, who transcended racial divisions 1930s and 1940s, remains a local hero in heavily black Detroit, where he grew up. The arena where the NHL's Detroit Red Wings play bears his name, and one of the city's most famous landmarks -- a bronze sculpture of an arm and fist -- is dedicated to his memory. He died in 1981.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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