Boxing legend Muhammad Ali passed away yesterday at the age of 74.
Ali, who had battled advanced Parkinson's disease since the 1980s, died Friday after being taken to a Phoenix-area hospital due to respiratory issues. He had been placed on life support to regulate his breathing.
The three-time world Heavyweight Boxing champion referred to himself as "The Greatest," and most sports experts would agree. Incredible skill, natural talent, and a charismatic, bigger-than-life personality earned Ali a legion of fans throughout his career.
A gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympic games, followed by his first heavyweight championships in 1964 (when he knocked out Sonny Liston), were just a few of Ali's achievements.
Ali retired from boxing in 1981 with a 56-5 record, three of the losses coming in his final four fights. He had 37 knockouts.
After his retirement, he concentrated on philanthropy and social activism.
The White House released a statement from President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama which read, in part:
Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Period. If you just asked him, he’d tell you. He’d tell you he was the double greatest; that he’d “handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder into jail.”
But what made The Champ the greatest – what truly separated him from everyone else – is that everyone else would tell you pretty much the same thing.
Like everyone else on the planet, Michelle and I mourn his passing. But we’re also grateful to God for how fortunate we are to have known him, if just for a while; for how fortunate we all are that The Greatest chose to grace our time.
Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it. We are all better for it. Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family, and we pray that the greatest fighter of them all finally rests in peace