Boxing legend Muhammad Ali dies

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali who was hospitalized in the Phoenix area has passed on.

The 74-year-old boxing great was fighting respiratory issues complicated by the Parkinson’s that he was diagnosed with in the 1980s, the people told The Associated Press on Thursday.

A spokesman for Ali Bob Gunnell said in a statement earlier Thursday that the former heavyweight champion was being treated at an unidentified hospital for a respiratory issue.

Ali has been hospitalized several times in recent years, most recently in early 2015 when he was treated for a severe urinary tract infection initially diagnosed as pneumonia.

Ali has looked increasingly frail in public appearances, including April 9 when he wore sunglasses and was hunched over at the annual Celebrity Fight Night dinner in Phoenix, which raises funds for treatment of Parkinson’s.

His last formal public appearance before that was in October when he appeared at the Sports Illustrated Tribute to Muhammad Ali at The Muhammad Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, along with former opponents George Foreman and Larry Holmes.

Ali suffered from Parkinson’s for three decades, most famously trembling badly while lighting the Olympic torch in 1996 in Atlanta.

Despite the disease he kept up a busy appearance schedule until recently, though he has not spoken in public for years.

Doctors say the Parkinson’s likely was caused by the thousands of punches Ali took during a career in which he travelled the world for big fights.

An iconic figure who at one point was perhaps the most recognized person in the world, Ali has lived quietly in the Phoenix area with his fourth wife, Lonnie, whom he married in 1986.

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