The legendary Muhammed Ali died Friday. He was 74. Read the obituary at the New York Times.
Muhammad Ali, the three-time world heavyweight boxing champion who helped define his turbulent times as the most charismatic and controversial sports figure of the 20th century, died on Friday in a Phoenix-area hospital. He was 74.
His death was confirmed by Bob Gunnell, a family spokesman.
Ali was the most thrilling if not the best heavyweight ever, carrying into the ring a physically lyrical, unorthodox boxing style that fused speed, agility and power more seamlessly than that of any fighter before him.
Ali was as polarizing a superstar as the sports world has ever produced — both admired and vilified in the 1960s and ’70s for his religious, political and social stances. His refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War, his rejection of racial integration at the height of the civil rights movement, his conversion from Christianity to Islam and the changing of his “slave” name, Cassius Clay, to one bestowed by the separatist black sect he joined, the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, were perceived as serious threats by the conservative establishment and noble acts of defiance by the liberal opposition.
In recent years, Parkinson’s disease and spinal stenosis, which required surgery, limited Ali’s mobility and ability to communicate. He spent most of his time at his home in Paradise Valley, Ariz., often watching Western movies and old black-and-white TV shows. He ventured out mostly for physical therapy, movies and concerts. He rarely did TV interviews, his wife said, because he no longer liked the way he looked on camera.
“But he loved the adoration of crowds,” she said. “Even though he became vulnerable in ways he couldn’t control, he never lost his childlike innocence, his sunny, positive nature. Jokes and pranks and magic tricks. He wanted to entertain people, to make them
American Idol and Muhammad Ali Enterprises were once owned by the same parent company. There are dozens of alums who had the opportunity to meet the great man at his annual Celebrity Fight Night and other events.
Here is the Season 10 finalists posing for a shot at his annual Fight Night in 2011.
Carrie Underwood And Ali in April at Celebrity Fight Night. It’s one of the last photos taken of the fighter.
Rest in peace champ…