Legendary heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali died at the age of 74 Friday in Phoenix, Arizona, a family spokesman said. Ali proclaimed himself “The Greatest” and was among the most famous and beloved athletes on the planet. The three-time heavyweight champion also had battled Parkinson’s disease since the age of 42. Ali has been hospitalized since Thursday with respiratory issue. Laila Ali “truly appreciates the outpouring of love for her family, as she spends quality time with her dad,” a statement issued by her business manager said.
His daughter Lailia Ali posted a picture on facebook of her father with her daughter, Sydney, who was born in 2011.
“I love this photo of my father and my daughter Sydney when she was a baby! Thank for all the love and well wishes. I feel your love and appreciate it!!” Laila Ali, herself a former world champion boxer, wrote.
The condolences and loved have poured in from athletes and actors from around the globe on social media.
Not only was Ali a athletic icon but also a social activist. Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky, as Cassius Clay in January 1942. He began boxing as an amateur when he was 12 years old and in 1964 became heavyweight champion with a knockout of Sonny Liston. That year he joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name.
Ali’s sparkling career was interrupted for 3½ years in the 1960s when he refused induction into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and was convicted of draft evasion. The Supreme Court overturned the conviction. He went on to win the heavyweight title twice more before retiring for good in 1981.
Ali was also known for some the most famous quote you ever heard. Just to list a few:
1. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. Now you see me, now you don’t. George thinks he will, but I know he won’t.
2. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
3. “I’m young; I’m handsome; I’m fast. I can’t possibly be beat.”
4. “Don’t count the days; make the days count.”
5. “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it—then I can achieve it.”
Muhammad Ali truly was the greatest and will be missed