It’s a very sad day not just in the sports world, but the world in general, as it has been announced Muhammad Ali has passed away [Friday, June 3, 2016] at the age of 74.
The boxing great was hospitalized in Phoenix, AZ with reports stating he was suffering from respiratory issues. His stay at the hospital progressively worsened and he succumbed to his illness. Initially, Ali family spokesperson Bob Gunnel told media the boxing great’s condition was fair and a brief hospital stay was expected.
Having been hospitalized several times in recent years, being treated for a severe urinary tract infection, which is originally diagnosed as pneumonia, Ali had been battling through illnesses often associated with old age. Often referred to as The G.O.A.T., for Greatest Of All Time, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease during the 1980s, an affliction that progressively worsened over the years.
Outside of his iconic bouts against the likes of Joe Frazier and George Foreman, Ali was further immortalized for his gift of gab, rhyming on command, which lends some to credit as the first person to ever rhyme in a fashion that inspired rap music. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!” “Rumble young man! Rumble!” and “The champ is here!” were all some of his most notable phrases. Born Cassius Clay on January 17, 1942, he later converted to Islam, changing his name and even befriending Malcolm X.
One of the most memorable moments of Ali’s life was in 1996 when he was badly trembling while holding the Olympic torch in Atlanta. The champ was also further immortalized in his critically acclaimed biopic Ali, where he was portrayed by Will Smith. His last public appearance occurred in October 2015 when he appeared at a special Sports Illustrated tribe to him at the Muhammad Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
Rest in peace, Champion.