Muhammad Ali, the legendary boxer who proclaimed himself “The Greatest” and was among the most famous and beloved athletes on the planet, died Friday in Phoenix, a family spokesman said.
Ali had been at a hospital since Thursday with what spokesman Bob Gunnell had described as a respiratory issue.
“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,” Gunnell said in a statement. “The Ali family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support and asks for privacy at this time.”
Muhammad Ali: Boxing legend, activist and ‘The Greatest’
A tweet on Ali’s official page posted a photo of the boxer and said simply, “Muhammad Ali. 1942-2016.”
Ali’s funeral will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, Gunnell said in the statement, adding “the Ali family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support and asks for privacy at this time.”
Ali had been hospitalized for a respiratory issue June 2. At the time, a rep said he was in fair condition.
One of the greatest fighters in the history of boxing, Ali retired in 1981 after losing to Trevor Berbick in his 61st career bout.
Soon thereafter, Ali — who doctors said had begun showing signs of sluggishness and neurological damage in the 1970s — began receiving treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
Ali, who called himself “The Greatest,” was married four times and had nine children, including daughter Laila, who also became a professional boxer. Ali and his fourth wife, Yolanda “Lonnie” Williams, had been married since 1986.
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