Remembering “The Greatest” – RIP Muhammad Ali
2016 has claimed another legend – Muhammad Ali, one of the best athletes in history, died on Friday at age 74.
The boxing champion who declared himself “The Greatest” and then lived up to his own hype has lost his final battle, succumbing to a respiratory issue stemming from his Parkinson’s disease, CNN reports.
His daughter Hana Ali tweeted that her father was “a humble mountain” and said he died surrounded by his family. “We all tried to stay strong and whispered in his ear, ‘You can go now. We will be okay. We love you. Thank you. You can go back to God now.’”
Social media was full of remembrances from the people who knew him and others who were inspired by his life. President Obama wrote a moving statement about how Ali was an icon of American strength.
“In my private study, just off the Oval Office, I keep a pair of his gloves on display, just under that iconic photograph of him — the young champ, just 22 years old, roaring like a lion over a fallen Sonny Liston,” Obama said.
“‘I am America,’ he once declared. ‘I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me — black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.’”
Others are looking back on the greatest moments of his life and career — a clip of him dodging 20 punches in 10 seconds, his defiant speeches about racism, the moment when he saved the life of a suicidal man in Los Angeles… the list is almost too long to count.
A public funeral for Muhammad Ali will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky on Friday.