Sunday 4 December 2016

Muhammad Ali, who riveted the world as 'The Greatest', dies aged 74

Published 04/06/2016 | 06:18

Ali is held back by referee Joe Walcott after knocking out challenger Sonny Liston in the first round of their title fight in Lewiston, Maine, in 1965 (AP)

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has died at 74, a family spokesman said.

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The three-time world heavyweight champion, who had battled Parkinson's disease for 32 years, was admitted to hospital with a respiratory condition earlier in the week.

His family's spokesman Bob Gunnell confirmed Ali's death in Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday evening local time.

The funeral will take place in Ali's home town of Louisville, Kentucky.

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali Credit: PA Wire

Read more: 'Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee' - Some of Muhammad Ali's best quotes

A statement from the spokesman said the Ali family "would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and support" and asked for privacy.

Ali, hailed as "The Greatest", is survived by his fourth wife Lonnie - whom he married in 1986 - and multiple children, many of whom were reported to have flown to their father's bedside on Thursday and Friday.

He had been admitted to hospital most recently in early 2015 when he was treated for a severe urinary tract infection initially diagnosed as pneumonia.

Read more: 'The greatest has fought his final round' - Tributes pour in for the late Muhammad Ali

At his last public appearances, he looked increasingly frail, including on April 9 when he wore sunglasses and was hunched over at the annual Celebrity Fight Night dinner in Phoenix, which raises funds for Parkinson's treatment.

Muhammad Ali pictured in 2014 (AP)
Muhammad Ali pictured in 2014 (AP)
Muhammad Ali, fighting fit in 1974 (AP)

Ali has suffered from Parkinson's for three decades and trembled badly while lighting the Olympic torch in 1996 in Atlanta.

Doctors say the Parkinson's was probably caused by the thousands of punches Ali took during a career in which he travelled the world for big fights.

Tributes quickly flooded in for Ali, born Cassius Clay, as news of his death broke.

George Foreman, Ali's friend and rival from the famous "Rumble in the Jungle" fight, said: "We were like one guy - part of me is gone."












He said he wanted Ali to be remembered as a "brave" humanitarian and not just a boxer.

He said: "Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest human beings I have ever met. No doubt he was one of the best people to have lived in this day and age.

"To put his as a boxer is an injustice."

He also spoke of Ali's love for the UK and the way he was treated in the country.

"He loved London. If he had been born and raised in London he never would have changed his name," he said.

Press Association

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