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Muhammad Ali, Legendary Boxer, Dies at 74

The ”Sports Personality of the Century“ had been hospitalized earlier in the week for respiratory issues

Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest athletes of all time, has died. He was 74.

The boxer was hospitalized on Thursday in Arizona for respiratory issues. His condition deteriorated and he passed away on Friday evening, his family confirmed.

Ali also suffered from Parkinson’s disease, which was diagnosed in 1984.

“Muhammad passed with his family at his side just moments ago. It was a very peaceful passing and they are with him as we speak. You know, we lost a great person in this world tonight,” a family spokesperson told MSNBC’s Brian Williams.

“We don’t have an official cause of death yet, but it has to be from complications of Parkinson’s.”

The rep added that Ali’s funeral will take place in Louisville, Kentucky.

Born Cassius Clay Jr. in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, the heavyweight champion changed his name to Muhammed Ali after converting to Islam in 1964.

Over his boxing career, Ali had a 100-5 record, earning him the nickname “The Greatest” and the title of “Sports Personality of the Century” from the BBC.

He won three World Heavyweight Boxing Championships and the lightweight heavyweight gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Ali continued to box into the ’80s, before finally retiring in 1981.

Ali’s boxing career was suspended in 1967 after he refused to be drafted for military service in the Vietnam War and declared himself a conscientious objector. As a result, he was stripped of his title by the World Boxing Association and had his boxing license revoked.

In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed his Selective Service violation conviction. Ali would later be known for his activism as much as his athleticism.

Hollywood immortalized Ali in the 1996 documentary, “When We Were Kings,” which won an Oscar, and in the 2001 biopic, “Ali,” which earned Will Smith a Best Actor nomination.

He is survived by his wife, Yolanda, seven daughters — including boxer Laila Ali — and two sons.

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