United States long jumper Ralph Boston, who claimed a full set of Olympic medals, including gold at Rome 1960, has died at the age of 83 ©Getty Images

Ralph Boston, an Olympic gold medallist who broke Jesse Owens’ long-standing long jump world record, has died at the age of 83.

Tributes have been paid to the American track and field star following his death yesterday.

Boston set the long jump world record in August 1960 with a leap of 8.21 metres - eight centimetres further than Owens had jumped 25 years earlier.

It came just three weeks before Boston captured men’s long jump gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

Boston went on to complete a full set of Olympic medals, winning silver at Tokyo 1964 and bronze at Mexico 1968.

He remains the only long jumper to achieve such a feat and is second on the all-time list behind compatriot Carl Lewis, winner of four consecutive Olympic long jump gold medals at Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996. 

After breaking Owens’ record, Boston went on to lower the mark a further five times from 1960 until 1965.

In 1967, the Soviet Union's Igor Ter-Ovanesyan equalled Boston's record with a leap of 8.35m at high-altitude in Mexico City.

It was a foretaste of what was to happen the following year when Bob Beamon jumped an incredible 8.95m to win the Olympic gold medal in Mexico's capital, setting a world record holder that lasted until 1991.

Boston was also a two-time Pan American Games champion, clinching the long jump title at São Paulo 1963 and Winnipeg 1967.

Among his other accolades include being inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1974 and being added to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1985.

The nine-time Olympic champion Lewis was among those to pay tribute to Boston, saying he was "devastated" by his death.

"As a child I idolised him and he was a major influence in my life," Lewis wrote in a post on Twitter.

"I'll miss his voice and support.

"He changed the game as an athlete, advocate and mentor."

USA Track and Field also issued a statement, describing Boston as a "legend".

"The greatest long jumper of his time, Boston broke the world record six times and was a member of the inaugural national track and field Hall of Fame," a statement from the USA Track and Field read.

"His legacy and contributions will live on for generations to come."

U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association added: "We extend our deepest condolences to Boston’s family and friends and invite all to reflect on the life and legacy of this exceptional athlete, whose indomitable spirit and dedication to the sport will never be forgotten."

Curiously, Boston's death comes just five days after fellow Rome 1960 long jump gold medallist Vira Krepkina died.

Representing the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian-born Krepkina was a surprise winner of the women's title.