BANGKOK -- Payao Poontarat, a champion boxer who in 1976 won Thailand's first Olympic medal, died Sunday, Siriraj hospital said. He was 49 and had been hospitalized with Lou Gehrig's disease since December.
Mr. Poontarat was 19 when he captured a bronze medal at the Montreal Games. The onetime flower seller was celebrated as a national hero after his Olympic triumph. He later held the World Boxing Council super flyweight crown.
In 2001, he won a seat in Parliament.
Thailand made its Olympic debut at the 1952 Helsinki Games. The country won boxing medals in every Olympics from 1984 through the 2004 Athens Games.