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Muhammad Ali’s Latest Health Scare Sparks ‘Media Frenzy’

Boxing legend is in a ”fair condition“ his rep says, as speculation mounts over his hospitalization Thursday for respiratory issues

Muhammad Ali was admitted to hospital in Arizona for respiratory issues Thursday, and while his representative says he is in a “fair condition,” there has been widespread speculation that he could be fighting a more serious health crisis.

The 74-year-old heavyweight legend’s publicist Bob Gunnell told the Associated Press Friday that Ali is expected to remain in the hospital for a brief time. However, two other sources close to the family said that Ali’s condition may be worse than originally expected and that there is mounting concern, the AP reported.

Each time Ali is admitted to the hospital it touches off a “media frenzy,” Gunnell later told the Courier-Journal in Louisville, while claiming that the hospital stay was still expected to be brief.

Ali was last seen in public on April 9 at his annual Celebrity Fight Night dinner in Phoenix, which raises funds for treatment of Parkinson’s. He has been described as looking frail at the event, and was photographed hunched over wearing dark glasses.

He has been hospitalized several times over the past few years, most recently in early 2015 when he was treated for a severe urinary tract infection initially diagnosed as pneumonia.

Born Cassius Clay in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, Ali changed his name in 1964 after joining the Nation of Islam. He is widely regarded as the greatest boxers and athletes of all time.

Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, which some experts have attributed to repeated blows to the head sustained during his boxing career. The disease has progressed with age and he has largely stayed out of the public eye for the past few years.

Well-wishers the world over have expressed their concern for the Champ’s health, including fellow boxer “Sugar” Ray Leonard.

“Prayers & blessings to my idol, my friend, & without question, the Greatest of All Time @MuhammadAli ! #GOAT,” Leonard tweeted.