Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. and former world heavyweight boxing champion, has died at the age of 74. Ali was taken to a Phoenix-area hospital earlier this week with a respiratory ailment. Original reports stated that he was in fair condition, but an unnamed source told media that the situation was down to a matter of hours, according to NBC News.
For more than three decades, Muhammad Ali has suffered from Parkinson’s disease. He was a shadow of his former self, a man feared in the ring for both his boxing ability and his ability to talk the talk. One of his famous quotes stuck with him for his entire life. In 1974, before a George Forman fight, Ali busted out, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. George can’t hit what his hands can’t see. Now you see me. Now you don’t. He thinks he will, but I know he won’t.”
Three years after his retirement from boxing in 1981, Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and he started to step back from the spotlight. He made some special appearances, one at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, where he lit the flame, and again in 2012 in London; however, he was much more frail and in a wheelchair.
Divorced three times, Muhammad Ali is survived by his wife, Yolanda “Lonnie” and nine children, including one daughter, Laila, who followed her father into the ring to become a boxer. Ali married Lonnie in 1986 and prior to moving to Arizona, they lived for a long period in Berrien Springs, Michigan. There has been no word on a memorial service at this time. More details are expected in the next few days. For more CDA News, follow our tweets on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
Commentary by Cletus Dillwood