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Boxing Legend, Social Icon Muhammad Ali Dies at 74

Heavyweight boxing legend Muhammad Ali, a 20th Century icon whose fame transcended sport during a remarkable career that spanned three decades, died Friday, his family said.

The 74-year-old sports hero, who had been battling Parkinson’s disease for decades, passed away in a hospital here where he had been admitted earlier this week suffering from respiratory problems.

“After a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74,” spokesman Bob Gunnell said.

“The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening.”

Funeral arrangements for Ali would be announced on Saturday, he added, with the champion to be buried in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

Ali had been living in the Phoenix area with his fourth wife, Lonnie, whom he married in 1986. He was survived by nine children, seven daughters and two sons.

As the family gathered at his bedside on Friday, concern for Ali had grown.

Upon his death tributes immediately poured in for “The Greatest,” who was known globally not only for his storied ring career but also for his humanitarian activism.

“Muhammad Ali transformed this country and impacted the world with his spirit,” said longtime boxing promoter Bob Arum. “His legacy will be part of our history for all time.

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“He is, without a question in my mind, the most transformative person of our time,” Arum said.

‘The greatest’ -Ali’s 30-year career, which stretched from 1960 to 1981 and saw him retire with a record of 56-5, included such historic bouts as the Rumble in the Jungle against George Foreman.

Don King promoted that watershed bout in Kinshasa, Zaire, in 1974, in which Ali used his “Rope a Dope” strategy to best Foreman and become just the second fighter ever to regain the heavyweight world title.

“His spirit will go on forever,” King said of Ali. “He represents what every athlete and sports person tries to do, an attitude of getting it done, success, he was fabulous.

“A great human being, and a champion of the people. The greatest of all times.”

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