He was fast of fist and foot — lip, too — a heavyweight champion who promised to shock the world and did. He floated. He stung. Mostly he thrilled, even after the punches had taken their toll and his voice barely rose above a whisper.
He was The Greatest.
Muhammad Ali died Friday at age 74, according to a spokesman for his family. He was hospitalized in the Phoenix area with respiratory problems earlier this week, and his children had flown in from around the country. Family spokesman Bob Gunnell said Ali, who had Parkinson’s disease, died of septic shock. While it’s not clear exactly what transpired with Ali, people with late-stage Parkinson’s often have difficulty swallowing. Food and liquid landing in the lungs can lead to pneumonia or a chest infection that could cause sepsis, a bloodstream infection.
“It’s a sad day for life, man. I loved Muhammad Ali, he was my friend. Ali will never die,” Don King, who promoted some of Ali’s biggest fights, told The Associated Press early Saturday. “Like Martin Luther King his spirit will live on, he stood for the world.”
Visit PBS, Black Culture Connection, For Exclusive PBS Content in tribute of Muhammad Ali. Click Here
Enter the world of ‘The People’s Champion’ in this special collection of videos and interactive stories from PBS. Muhammad Ali (1942 – 2016), fearlessly fused sports, politics, race and religion, and is considered one of the greatest heavyweight boxers in the history of the sport. Reflect on the life of a champ — both on and off the ring — in this special collection from PBS.
Watch “In Their Own Words: Muhammad Ali” Full Episode Click Here
Follow Muhammad Ali’s path from a gym in Louisville to boxing successes, conversion to Islam, opposition to the draft, exile from the ring, comeback fights, Parkinson’s disease and his inspirational re-emergence at the Atlanta Olympics. Click here to watch complete episode.