As a boxer, Ali will be remembered as a three-time world heavyweight champion who won 56 bouts over a 21-year career.
Tributes have poured in for Muhammad Ali, the heavyweight champion boxer who transfixed the world with his sporting feats, quick-witted commentary and civil rights activism.
Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky
Aged 22, he took on heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in Miami. He won and proclaimed to the world: “I am the greatest!”
Ali was the first man to win heavyweight titles three times
Ali attended his first Nation of Islam meeting in 1959 and converted to Sunni Islam in 1975
In 1967, he famously refused to fight in Vietnam, citing religious reasons
Married four times, he had seven daughters and two sons
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, at the age of 43
Ali died late on June 3, 2016, in a hospital in Arizona after being admitted with respiratory problems
Ali’s funeral will take place in Louisville
Ali is survived by his wife, the former Lonnie Williams, who knew him when she was a child, along with his nine children
Ali, who died aged 74 late on Friday, had endured a long fight with Parkinson’s disease.
US President Barack Obama, who keeps a pair of boxing gloves worn by Ali in his private study, said on Saturday that Ali “shook up the world and the world is better for it”.
He added Parkinson’s disease may have “ravaged” Ali’s body, but it “couldn’t take the spark from his eyes”.
Fellow athletes were quick to offer their condolences.
“A part of me slipped away,” George Foreman said on Twitter, calling the legendary fellow boxer by his “the Greatest” nickname.
“God came for his champion. So long great one,” boxer Mike Tyson said on Twitter.
God be good to Muhammed Ali
— Barry McGuigan (@ClonesCyclone) June 3, 2016
“RIP to The Greatest Muhammad Ali, you have given something to boxing that will never be forgotten,” tweeted Floyd Mayweather.
British boxer Amir Khan, meanwhile, offered “prayers and thoughts”.
Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino former world champion professional boxer, said the boxing world would benefit from Ali’s legacy.
“We lost a giant today,” said Pacquiai. “Boxing benefited from Muhammad Ali’s talents but not nearly as much as mankind benefited from his humanity.”
— Frank Bruno MBE 🇬🇧 (@frankbrunoboxer) June 4, 2016
A giant among men, Ali displayed a greatness in talent, courage & conviction, that most of us will EVER be able to truly comprehend. #RIPAli
— Lennox Lewis, CBE, CM (@LennoxLewis) June 4, 2016
Artists, activists and politicians also paid tribute to the late boxer.
Michael Moore, the documentary filmmaker, said: “Muhammad Ali, pacifist, Muslim. Convicted as a felon simply because he refused to go to Vietnam.” He quoted Ali’s famous line: “No Vietnamese ever called me a n*****.”
Ali, he was and always will be the greatest. A true champion in and out of the ring. May my friend rest in peace.
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) June 4, 2016
— Lionel Richie (@LionelRichie) June 4, 2016
#MuhammedAli was PROUD to be Black AND Muslim. He loved his Blackness and his faith. He embodied confidence. Never let opposition break him.
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) June 4, 2016
— Naomi Campbell (@NaomiCampbell) June 4, 2016
As boys, we huddled around the radio as Muhammad Ali floored Sonny Liston. In 1975, he walked into, and blessed, our lives…
— Jermaine Jackson (@jermjackson5) June 4, 2016
My heart is deeply saddened yet both appreciative and relieved that the greatest is now resting in the greatest place.
— Roy Jones Jr. (@RealRoyJonesJr) June 4, 2016
I had the honor of knowing #Muhammad Ali. He was simply The greatest inspiration to the whole world. Sad sad day.
— David Hasselhoff (@DavidHasselhoff) June 4, 2016
Muhammad Ali and his parents.
Photo: Neil Leifer pic.twitter.com/tLr8NKXqiD
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) June 4, 2016
— Makho Ndlovu (@makhondlovu) June 4, 2016
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This pic means so much to me! The love he showed me he didn't have to. He always was excited to see me. He even came to see me on Broadway in A Raisin In The Sun. He sat thru a 3 hr play to see me. It bugged me out. It humbled me. Thank you for the love. I MISS YOU. #RIPALI
RIP Muhammad Ali. You were an exemplary sportsperson & source of inspiration who demonstrated the power of human spirit & determination.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 4, 2016
Muhammad Ali was not just a boxing legend, but a civil rights champion and a towering figure of our time
— Mayor of London (gov.uk/coronavirus) (@MayorofLondon) June 4, 2016