He was THE boxer, floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee. His punch was swift, his feet were fleet, and his mouth was fast. He rumbled and he brought thrills. When his career began to fade and his battle scars began to ravage his body, he remained charismatic and inspiring. Every day of his remaining years he proved he was still exactly as he boasted he was on his prime: The Greatest.
Last Friday June 3, it came to an end. And all media, from big names like ESPN, CNN, NBC and BBC, to everyone else who tells the news, soon broke the sad tidings: Muhammad Ali, Olympian, legendary former heavyweight champion professional boxer, and one of the modern world’s foremost sporting figures, has died of complications brought on by Parkinson’s syndrome. He was 74 years old.
Over the past week Ali was confined to a hospital around Phoenix, AZ due to respiratory problems, a side effect of his over 3 decades battle with Parkinson’s disease. A spokesman of the Ali family, Bob Gunnell told NBC News Friday night, “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.”
One of Ali’s daughters, Hana, posted on Instagram detailing her father’s last moments, remarking how, even after all of his major organs have shut down, the heart of The Greatest continued to beat for thirty more minutes before expiring, a testament to Ali’s unconquerable will and fighting Residents of Ali’s hometown in Louisville, KY, awoke Saturday morning of June 4 to news of their hero and idol’s passing. BBC reports how his death was the topic of every local television station and newspaper, and flags all over the city were flown at half-mast that day as mourners left flowers at either the sprawling waterfront Muhammad Ali Center or his boyhood home, recently preserved as a museum and furnished as how it was when Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay, had lived there with his family in the Using his light-heavyweight boxing gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics as a springboard, Muhammad Ali went on to an illustrious professional career, winning 56 of 61 fights – 37 by way of knockout – winning the world heavyweight title three times and maintaining a 31-fight winning streak.
Other career highlights were the “rope-a- dope” win over George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire (Rumble in the Jungle, 1974) and his decisive second win over Joe Frazier – for a 2-1 record between them – in the Philippines (Thrilla in Manila, 1975). He retired in 1981 and announced his Parkinson’s the following Tributes for The Greatest Champ have been steadily coming in from big names across the world, from former rivals like Foreman, to boxing promoters like Don King and Bob Arum, to other boxers like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, to world leaders like President Barack Obama, other great athletes like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, religious leaders, and actors such as fellow Parkinson’s sufferer Michael J. Fox.
Ali’s family states that his funeral will be at their Louisville home.