Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali dies at 74
Muhammad Ali, widely known as the greatest heavyweight boxer in the sport’s history, died late Friday night after being hospitalized in Arizona a day earlier with a respiratory issue.
Ali, 74, had suffered from Parkinson’s disease since the 1980s.
“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,” family spokesperson Bob Gunnell said in a statement.
Ali died at Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center, where the scene outside was quiet. Law enforcement sealed off entrances and news media was station across the street. Earlier Friday family members arrived at the hospital.
Camacho-Ali had four children with Ali, with whom she was married for 10 years. “The only thing I’m worried about right now is my children. I wish I was there with them (in Scottsdale) to support them because I know they’re taking this very hard.”
Muhammed Ali World Boxer Champion Awards
He secured an Olympic gold medal in the 1960 Summer Games and became one of the youngest heavyweight champions of all time, stunning the boxing world with a knockout of Sonny Liston to claim the title in 1964 at 22.
It marked the first of three times Ali would win the heavyweight title.
Shortly after the native of Louisville defeated Liston, Ali became a cog in both the civil rights and anti-war movement. Ali changed his name from Cassius Clay after he joined the Nation of Islam, and he was convicted of draft evasion in 1967 after he refused to fight in the Vietnam War because of religious beliefs.
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His opposition to the Vietnam War cost him the belt and led to a three-year ban from boxing. His conviction for dodging the Vietnam War draft was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1971.
Ali’s death is “sad, and yet, here was a person who probably did more to transform what people thought about race and religion and about peace, both in the United States and the world,” Bob Arum, who promoted Ali in the 1960s and 1970s.
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“I really believe that he even had more of an impact, because he had been this great boxer, and because he had made this tremendous sacrifice, giving up his career for what he believed in for 3½ years, that he had more of an impact than even Martin Luther King. I really believe that.”
Ali retired from boxing in 1981 with a 56-5 record, three of the losses coming in his final four fights. He had 37 knockouts.
Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three years after his retirement. Family members believed his years of boxing contributed to the disease.
After his retirement, he concentrated on philanthropy and social activism.
He was admitted for medical treatment several times in recent years, including to treat pneumonia in December 2014.