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Muhammad Ali, who riveted the world as `The Greatest,' dies

Written by The Associated Press | Jun 4, 2016 8:01 AM
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(Undated) -- Fight promoter Don King says Muhammad Ali ``stood for the world.''

Ali died yesterday after being hospitalized in the Phoenix area with respiratory problems earlier this week.

After his iconic boxing career, Ali was devastated by Parkinson's disease but said in 1984, ``What I suffered physically was worth what I've accomplished in life. A man who is not courageous enough to take risks will never accomplish anything.''

A funeral will be held Wednesday in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Flags have been ordered to half-staff. The city plans a memorial service today.

With a wit as sharp as the punches he used to ``whup'' opponents, Ali dominated sports for two decades before time and Parkinson's Syndrome, triggered by thousands of blows to the head, ravaged his magnificent body, muted his majestic voice and ended his storied career in 1981.

He won and defended the heavyweight championship in epic fights in exotic locations, spoke loudly on behalf of blacks, and famously refused to be drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War because of his Muslim beliefs.

Despite his debilitating illness, Ali traveled the world to rapturous receptions even after his once-bellowing voice was quieted and he was left to communicate with a wink or a weak smile.

He fought in three different decades, finished with a record of 56-5 with 37 knockouts and was the first man to win heavyweight titles three times.

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