Obit Fred Levin

FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 22, 1999, file photo, attorney Fred Levin waits to be honored by the Ambassador of Ghana to the United States, at the United Nations. Levin, the Florida attorney who won a major legal battle against the tobacco industry in the 1990s, died Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, days after contracting the coronavirus. He was 83. (AP Photo/Ed Bailey, File)

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — Florida attorney Fred Levin, who won a major legal battle against the tobacco industry in the 1990s, died Tuesday, several days after contracting the Coronavirus. He was 83.

Levin’s death from complications of COVID-19 was confirmed by Levin Papantonio Rafferty attorney Mark Proctor.

In the 1990s, Levin was able to get the Florida Legislature to change Florida’s Medicaid law, allowing it to recoup money for the cost of treating lung cancer. That change helped Levin lead an effort to reach a $13 billion settlement with the tobacco industry.

Levin also became boxing manager to fellow Pensacola native Roy Jones Jr. in 1989, leading up to the prizefighter’s heavyweight championship in 2003.

Levin’s career began in 1961 when he joined the Levin and Askew law firm founded by his brother David and Reubin Askew, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

Levin used his success in his law career to pursue philanthropy work, donating more than $35 million. The University of Florida named its law school after Levin in 1999 after he gave $10 million to the school where he earned his undergraduate degree in 1958 and his law degree in 1961.

Levin was investigated by the Florida Bar on four separate occasions for making controversial remarks in public. One investigation in 1990 led to a public reprimand from the bar over his criticism of law enforcement prosecuting gambling crimes.

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