An emotional farewell to the greatest of all time. Jamie Foxx took the stage at the 2016 BET Awards on Sunday, June 26, to pay tribute to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who died earlier this month, but it was Ali’s daughter Laila who tugged at the heartstrings.
“My father lived his life with conviction and purpose,” the Dancing With the Stars alum and former pro boxer said. “But to me and my eight sisters and brothers, he was just Dad. As his youngest daughter, I can tell you that he was also a loving, gentle and principled man. He believed in evolving in his beliefs and his ideas.”
Choking up, she continued, “My father always said, ‘The man who views the world at 50 the same way as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.’ As my dad grew older, he evolved in his mind, his heart and his spirit, but one thing that never changed was his love and gratitude for all people.”
“These past few weeks, my father’s generosity and love has been matched by a worldwide outpouring of love and reverence for him and our entire family,” she added. “We’re all honored and grateful for the love, kindness and appreciation that’s been shown to him in return. My father also once said, ‘If people love each other as much as they love me, it would be a better world.’ If he was here today, he would humbly ask you to pray, not just for our family, but for all of mankind.”
The boxing legend was 74 when he died of a respiratory issue on Friday, June 3, at a hospital in Phoenix.
Celebrities and family alike quickly took to social media to honor Ali, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, just three years after his retirement from the ring.
“God came for his champion. So long great one,” former boxer Mike Tyson tweeted.
Madonna shared a photo of Ali and herself with a nod to the loss of other legends this year, including Prince and David Bowie. “What is going on??!! We are losing all of our National Treasures. Our Pillars of Humanity. He was the Greatest!”
Aside from his prowess in the boxing ring, Ali was also known for his quick wit and eloquence.
The three-time World Heavyweight champion once proclaimed, “’Impossible’ is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
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