Muhammad Ali died Friday, according to a reports from his family. He was 74.
“Today my heart goes out to a pioneer, a true legend, and a hero by all means! Not a day went by entering the gym that I didn’t think of you. Your charisma, your charm and above all, your class are all of the elements that will be greatly missed by myself and the world. You are someone that inspired me greatly throughout my boxing journey and words cannot express how great you were as a person! Thank you for everything you’ve done for Black America, in the the world of sports & entertainment and for the legacy you leave behind! My sincerest condolences to the Ali family!” Floyd Mayweather quoted on Instagram.
Ali had been hospitalized in the Phoenix area this week with respiratory issues, and his family and friends had flown in from around the country.
Retired from boxing since 1981, Ali had battled Parkinson’s disease for a long time. He had been hospitalized a few other times in the past years, including in 2015 because of a severe urinary tract infection initially diagnosed as pneumonia.
Ali’s funeral will be held in his hometown of Louisville, with further details expected to be released Saturday morning. The city plans a memorial service for Saturday, and flags there will be put at half-staff in the morning.
Ali’s death reaches far beyond the sport of boxing. He was one of the world’s most recognized people for his actions in and out of the ring. His stance on the military draft and his conversion to Islam polarized America, mainly along racial lines. Yet later, he unified people with his messages of freedom, peace and equality.