Muhammad Ali, the three-time heavyweight champion who proclaimed himself “the Greatest”, defied the US government over the Vietnam war, and later became one of the most well-known – and loved – sportsmen in history has died.
Ali died late on Friday at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, the family’s spokesperson Bob Gunnell said. His funeral will take place in his home town of Louisville, Kentucky.
Ali was admitted to hospital on Thursday with a respiratory problem – a move that was described at the time as “a precaution”. However, reports emerged 24 hours later which said he had been placed on a life support machine and his family “feared the worst”.
Ali had become increasingly frail since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, aged 42, and in recent years had limited his public appearances. Earlier this month his brother Rahman Ali revealed that the condition was so advanced he could barely speak or leave his house.