The Greatest of All Time is gone.
Boxing legend Muhammad Ali passed away on Friday evening in Phoenix, AZ with his family at his bedside. He was 74. NBC News first reported the passing.
One of the most dominant world champions in combat sports history, Ali suffered from various health issues for decades. In 1984, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. In recent years, he has been hospitalized multiple times, including for pneumonia.
On Thursday, Ali was hospitalized yet again for a respiratory complication. Initially, his condition was described as “fair,” although on Friday he was put on life support and doctors feared there were only hours of his life left.
A funeral service is currently being planned in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
Ali made his professional boxing debut in 1960 against Tunney Hunsaker, and won the fight by unanimous decision. It would take 18 more wins until he earned a title shot against then-world heavyweight champion Sonny Liston. Ali squared off with Liston as the challenger in 1964, and was a 7-1 underdog. In what was only the beginning of his legendary career, Ali won the championship via TKO, gaining worldwide notoriety.
Ali continued to rack up victories for the next several years, but lost for the first time against Joe Frazier by unanimous decision in 1971 in “The Fight of the Century.” In some of his other most notable matchups, Ali defeated Frazier in a rematch, George Foreman to regain the world title, and Frazier for the second time in a trilogy matchup coined “The Thrilla in Manila.”
After two consecutive losses, Ali retired from professional boxing in 1981 with a record of 56-5.
Rest in peace, Muhammad Ali.
About the author