PHOENIX, AZ– Muhammad Ali, the heavyweight boxing champion that fought his way up and into star status, has passed away at the age of 74.
The last 32 years of Ali’s life was spent battling Parkinson’s Disease. He was hospitalized earlier this week with respiratory complications.
Ali still remained in the limelight despite the crippling disease and the estimated 29,000 punches to the head he received over the course of his career, most recently responding to Donald Trump’s viewpoint of restricting Muslim access in America after the attacks in Paris.
Here is Ali’s full statement from last December according to ABC:
“I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion. We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody. Speaking as someone who has never been accused of political correctness, I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people’s views on what Islam really is.”
Born Cassius Clay, Ali announced his new moniker after meeting Malcolm X. While training for his title bout against the fearsome heavyweight champion, Sonny Liston, Ali met Malcolm X. Malcolm became his mentor and brought him into the Nation of Islam. The new name was announced after Ali defeated Sonny Liston in Miami and became Heavyweight Champion of the world in 1964, according to Ali’s website.