The loss of a legend. Muhammad Ali died on Friday, June 3, surrounded by family and friends at a hospital in Phoenix. He was 74.
A family spokesperson confirmed the boxing champ's death to NBC News.
Prior to his passing, the former heavyweight champion was hospitalized for a respiratory issue, family spokesperson Bob Gunnell confirmed to ESPN on Thursday, June 2.
“He is being treated by his team of doctors and is in fair condition,” Gunnell said of the legendary athlete at the time. “A brief hospital stay is expected. At this time, the Muhammad Ali family respectfully requests privacy.”
Ali, who retired from the boxing ring in 1981 after three World Heavyweight Championships, has been hospitalized several times in recent years, including once for almost three weeks in late 2014 after suffering a severe urinary tract infection initially diagnosed as pneumonia.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984 at the age of 42, only three years after his retirement.
On Friday, June 3, a spokeswoman for his daughter Laila told NBC Nightly News that “Laila’s No.1 priority is her father’s well-being.”
“She truly appreciates the outpouring of love for her family, as she spends quality time with her dad,” the spokeswoman continued.
Ali was last seen in public last September, when he attended an awards ceremony at the University of Louisville honoring his boxing career and his legacy as a hometown hero.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 30 years, Yolonda Williams, and seven daughters and two sons.
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