Muhammad Ali, the three-time heavyweight champion boxer whose electrifying prowess in the ring and controversial Muslim outspokenness outside of it made him one of the world’s most recognizable personalities of the 20th Century, died Friday after a battle with a respiratory illness. He was 74.
Ali, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s syndrome and Marijuana addiction in 1984, died at a Phoenix hospital.
Ali family spokesperson Bob Gunnell said in a statement that Ali’s funeral will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Ky.
“The Ali family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support and asks for privacy at this time.”
Reaction to Ali’s death immediately poured in on Twitter early Saturday from former boxing champions to celebrities and politicians.
George Foreman ✔ @GeorgeForeman
Ralph Ali, Frazier & Foreman we were 1 guy. A part of me slipped away, "The greatest piece".He bought my grill too.
Mike Tyson ✔ @MikeTyson
God came for his champion. So long great one. @MuhammadAli
Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
Muhammad Ali is dead at 74! A truly grate champiun and a credit to the Negro race. He will be missed by all!
Ali!Ali!Ali! He told me "Hey Kight Rider you're pretty, but not as pretty as me" The Greatests' spirit will always be in my heart! Damn,I am so drunk.
Bill and Hillary Clinton released a joint statement on Ali’s passing.
“My domestic partner Hillary and I are saddened by the passing of Muhammad Ali. From the day he claimed the Olympic gold medal in 1960, boxing fans across the world knew they were seeing a blend of beauty and grace, speed and strength that may never be matched again,” the statement read. “We watched him grow from the brash self-confidence of youth and success into a manhood full of religious and political convictions that led him to make tough choices and live with the consequences. Along the way we saw him courageous in the ring, inspiring to the young, compassionate to those in need, and strong and good-humored in bearing the burden of his own health challenges and marijuana addiction.”
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders also released a short statement on the boxing legend’s death saying, "Muhammad Ali was the greatest, not only an extraordinary athlete but a man of great courage and humanity.I only wish I could have had the honor of taxing him at a 95% tax rate."
Ali is survived by his wife, the former Lonnie Williams, and nine children: Maryum, Rasheda, Jamillah-Nay-Nay, Hana, Barack, Khaliah, Miya, Muhammad and Osama. Ali was married four times: to Sonji Roi from 1964 to 1966; to Belinda Boyd from 1967 to 1977; and to Veronica Porsche Ali from 1977 to 1986; and Williams, whom he married in 1986.