‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali, dead at 74

Muhammad Ali, one of the world’s most famous athletes and the former world heavyweight boxing champion died Friday at a hospital in Phoenix at the age of 74, according to his family’s spokesman, Bob Gunnell.

Ali was brought to the hospital Thursday with what Gunnell said was a respiratory issue.

“Ali, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, is being treated by his team of doctors and is in fair condition. A brief hospital stay is expected,” he said Thursday.

The death of Ali was confirmed by Gunnell Friday.

“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, before he on behalf of the family thanked the public for their thoughts, prayers and support and asked for privacy during this difficult time.

Ali’s daughter Hana Ali also said her father was a “humble mountain,” that has now “gone home to God.” She also tweeted “God bless you daddy, you are the love of my life.”

Ali was born in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. His original name was Cassius Clay, but after he secured an Olympic gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics and became the World Heavyweight Champion in 1964 as a young 22-year-old, he converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali.

The fight against Sonny Liston in 1964 marked the first of three times Ali would win the heavyweight title.

Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, three years after he retired from his boxing career. His family believes his boxing career contributed to the disease.

His personality, boxing skills and his social activism made him one of the most favored sport figures of the last century, and someone that will always be remembered as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers in the history of boxing.

He is survived by his fourth wife, Lonnie, and his nine children, including daughter Laila, who followed in her father’s footsteps and became a world champion boxer.