Former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, whose record-setting boxing career, flair for showmanship and political stands made him one of the best-known figures of the 20th century, died on Friday aged 74.
Ali , who had long suffered from Parkinson’s syndrome which impaired his speech and made the once-graceful athlete almost a prisoner in his own body, died a day after he was admitted to a Phoenix-area hospital with a respiratory ailment.
Even so, Ali ‘s youthful proclamation of himself as “the greatest” rang true until the end for the millions of people worldwide who admired him for his courage both inside and outside the ring.
Along with a fearsome reputation as a fighter, he spoke out against racism, war and religious intolerance, while projecting an unshakeable confidence and humor that became a model for African-Americans at the height of the civil rights era.
“Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest human beings I have ever met,” said George Foreman, who lost to Ali in Zaire in a classic 1974 bout known as the “Rumble in Jungle.”
“No doubt he was one of the best people to have lived in this day and age. To put him as a boxer is an injustice.”
Ali enjoyed a popularity that transcended the world of sports, even though he rarely appeared in public in his later years.
“We lost an icon,” said Delson Dez, 28, a construction worker, who was holding up a poster of the fighter in Scottsdale, Arizona soon after Ali ‘s death was confirmed in a statement issued by his family late Friday evening.
“He talked trash but he backed it up,” Dez said.
Few could argue with his athletic prowess at his peak in the 1960s. With his dancing feet and quick fists, he could—as he put it—float like a butterfly and …Read More
Source:: Nigerian Pilot