Muhammad Ali, the silver-tongued boxer and civil rights champion who famously proclaimed himself “The Greatest” and then spent a lifetime living up to the billing, has died aged 74 after a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Ali, who earned the nickname ‘The Greatest’, suffered from Parkinson’s Disease since 1984. He was taken into hospital on Thursday and died Friday at a Phoenix-area hospital, where he had spent the past few days being treated for respiratory complications, a family spokesman confirmed to NBC News. He was 74.
“After a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening,” Bob Gunnell, a family spokesman, told NBC News.
Ali had suffered for three decades from Parkinson’s, a progressive neurological condition that slowly robbed him of both his legendary verbal grace and his physical dexterity. A funeral service is planned in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
Politicians, athletes and celebrities immediately flooded to social media to pay tribute to “The Greatest”.
Ali’s family said his funeral would be held in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, and thanked the public for their outpouring of support.
The three-time heavyweight champion had been on life support at a hospital outside Phoenix, Arizona, after he was found ‘barely breathing’ at his home on Thursday.
A very sad day for my sport. There are few real heroes left in this world. Today we lost “The Greatest of All Time” pic.twitter.com/aOhrzYNcl5
— James DeGale (@jamesdegale1) June 4, 2016
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
— Martin Kemp (@realmartinkemp) June 4, 2016
— Bob Arum (@BobArum) June 4, 2016