Boxing legend Muhammad Ali dies at 74

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali dies at 74

Muhammad Ali, the boxing and most significant heavy weight champion is no more. Muhammad Ali, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease was one of the most recognized sports persons of the past 100 years.

Ali, originally known as Cassius Clay, began training at 12 years old. At the age of 22, he won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in a stunning upset in 1964. Shortly after that, Ali joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name. He converted to Sunni Islam in 1975, and then to Sufism in 2005.

Ali remains the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion; he won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978. Between February 25, 1964 and September 19, 1964 Ali reigned as the undisputed heavyweight boxing champion. Nicknamed “The Greatest”, he was involved in several historic boxing matches.

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Crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC, Ali was noted for his pre- and post-fight talk and bold fight predictions just as much as his boxing skills inside the ring.

But he was also a civil rights campaigner and poet who transcended the bounds of sport, race and nationality.
On December 20, 2014, Ali was hospitalized for a mild case of pneumonia. Ali was once again hospitalized on January 15, 2015, for a urinary tract infection after being found unresponsive at a guest house in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was released the next day.

Ali was hospitalized in Scottsdale again on June 2, 2016, with a respiratory condition. His condition was initially described as “fair”. The following day, Ali’s condition worsened, and he was placed on life support. His condition did not improve, and late on June 3, it was announced that Ali had died at the age of 74

Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s syndrome in 1984, a disease that commonly results from head trauma from activities such as boxing. Ali still remained active during this time, however, later participating as a guest referee at Wrestle Mania.

Tributes for the heavyweight great have been pouring in from across the world.

“Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it,” said US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.

Former President Bill Clinton – husband of Democratic frontrunner Hillary – said the boxer had been “courageous in the ring, inspiring to the young, compassionate to those in need, and strong and good-humoured in bearing the burden of his own health challenges”.

Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that Ali was “truly great champion and a wonderful guy. He will be missed by all!”

 

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