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PopWrapped | Celebrities

BREAKING: Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali Has Passed Away At 74

Ursula Martinez | PopWrapped Author

Ursula Martinez

Updated 12/31/2016 11:29pm
BREAKING: Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali Has Passed Away At 74 | Muhammad Ali
Media Courtesy of AP

Muhammad Ali, legendary boxing and civil rights champion who famously called himself "The Greatest", has passed away at 74, according to Bob Gunnell, a family spokesman.

"After a 32-year battle with Parkinson's disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening."

Ali was hospitalized at a Phoenix-area hospital on Thursday for respiratory issues but was said to be in fair condition.

Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Clay on January 17th, 1942. He started boxing at only 12 years old. He became a professional boxer soon after but was faced with racism and opportunism.

Ali found solace in the Nation of Islam and -- inspired by Malcolm X, who, at the moment, was one of the group's leaders -- famously converted in 1963.

The three-time heavyweight champ was not only one of the most notable boxers in the history of the sport, he was also eloquent, witty and charming.

Muhammad Ali retired from boxing in 1981 and was, then, diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a progressive neurological condition that took away his oral and physical nimbleness. He took in his disease as -- what else? -- a champion, and began a true commitment to finding a cure for the disease, as well as taking on other humanitarian causes.

Even if the disease slowed him down physically, his mind was as sharp as ever, and he remained in the spotlight until recently, when he criticized Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. Muhammad Ali wrote a statement in which he said, "We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda."

Ali is survived by his nine children -- including daughter Laila Ali, who followed his footsteps and became a professional boxer herself -- and his fourth wife, Yolanda Williams, who he married in 1986.

A funeral service is planned in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Rest in peace champ.

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