Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has died at the age of 74 according to a family spokesman.
The heavyweight boxing champion was admitted to hospital in Phoenix Arizona on Thursday, where he died. Ali was suffering from a respiratory illness that was made worse by his 32 year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
The funeral is set to take place in the boxer’s hometown – Louisville, Kentucky.
Ali’s first rise to stardom was at the 1960 Rome Olympics, where he won the light-heavyweight gold. In 1964, Ali beat Sonny Liston to win his first world title and became the first boxer ever to to win a world heavyweight title on three separate occasions. He was soon after aptly nicknamed “The Greatest”.
Throughout his career, Ali won 56 out of 61 fights. The boxer retired in 1981.
Ali was not only a king in the ring, but also an iconic role model for the sporting industry. His pre and post match talks were beyond inspirational and even those who weren’t interesting in boxing as a sport, highly respected the boxer’s drive, ambition and attitude. Sports Illustrated crowned him “Sportsman of the Century” and the BBC named him “Sports Personality of the Century”.
Ali was also recognised for his work in civil activism. Ali became heavily involved with the Nation Of Islam, whose goal was to improve the spiritual, mental, social and economic conditions of African Americans in the United States. Ali eventually converted to Islam too.
The boxer also vociferously opposed the Vietnam War, refusing to be drafted in to the military. As a result, he was stripped of his world title and boxing licence, preventing him from fighting for four years.
Today we remember the boxing hero and sporting legend as he himself wanted to be remembered, “as a man who never sold out his people. But if that’s too much, then just a good boxer. I won’t even mind if you don’t mention how pretty I was.”