Muhammad Ali, the boxer and civil rights champion who proclaimed himself to be “The Greatest,” and later then proved himself worthy of such a title, passed away at age 74 late Friday night.
Ali died on Friday at a Phoenix-area hospital where he had spent the past few days being treated for respiratory complications, according to a family spokesman.
“After a 32 year battle with Parkinson’s disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74,” Bob Gunnell, a family spokesman, said to NBC News.
The boxer had suffered for three decades from Parkinson’s, a progressive neurological condition that slowly stole from him his verbal grace and his physical dexterity. In 2013, he experienced a death scare and in 2015, he was rushed to the hospital after being found unresponsive. He recovered and returned to his new home in Arizona.
In his final years, Ali was barely able to speak.
His daughter, Rasheda, said early Saturday that the legend was “no longer suffering,” and described him as “daddy, my best friend and hero” as well as “the greatest man that ever lived.”
Even as his health declined, Ali did not stay away from politics or controversy. He released a statement in December that criticized Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, and his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
“We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda,” Ali stated.
A funeral service is planned in his hometown on Louisville, Kentucky.
Rest in peace, Muhammad Ali.