Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali Dead At 74

Above: Boxing legend Muhammad Ali dies at 74
Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali Dead At 74

He was The Greatest.

Muhammad Ali, the boxing legend who won his first world heavyweight championship at the age of 22 and went on to become one of the greatest athletes in history has died. Ali died late Friday night at age 74, according to a statement from his family.

Ali was hospitalized in the Phoenix area with respiratory problems earlier this week, and his children had flown in from around the country.

“It’s a sad day for life, man. I loved Muhammad Ali, he was my friend. Ali will never die,” Don King, who promoted some of Ali’s biggest fights, told The Associated Press early Saturday. “Like Martin Luther King his spirit will live on, he stood for the world.”

Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., grew up in Louisville, Ky. He started training to become a boxer at 12, after a policeman who ran a local recreation center encouraged him to learn how to fight in order to seek revenge on a thief who had stolen his bike. Ali participated in his first professional fight in 1960, and achieved 19 consecutive victories—including 15 by knockout—before upsetting Sonny Liston to win his first heavyweight title during his twentieth fight in 1964. It was before his fight with Liston that Ali famously promised to “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.”

Less than three years after he retired from boxing, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 42. Doctors told him his Parkinson’s was likely the result of the punches he took to his head throughout his career. Despite his diagnosis, Ali continued to make public appearances around the world.

Ali is survived by his wife, Yolanda “Lonnie” Williams, his two sons, Asaad Amin and Muhammad Jr., and his sevens daughters, Laila, Rasheda, Hana, Maryum, Jamillah, Khaliah, and Miya.

A funeral will be held in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The city plans a memorial service Saturday.

Tags: Muhammad Ali, RIP

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