The world was left a whole lot dimmer when news broke Friday night that legendary boxer Muhammad Ali had died, as previously reported by the Inquisitr. Ali was 74.
Ali isn’t just “The Greatest,” he was also a pacifist and a humanitarian. When he passed on, many grieved, including many celebrities and sports figures who have been privileged to have known the great boxer while he was still living. Muhammad Ali wasn’t just a great friend to many, he was also a constant source of inspiration, and there’s no doubt that he will continue to inspire even in death.
As news of Muhammad’s death continue to receive extensive coverage worldwide, celebrities and athletes were quick to offer their condolences to Ali’s family and pay tribute to the great champion.
“Ali- we will NEVER forget your courage, standing up to those in power. You gave up your title & your career rather than kill Vietnamese. RIP” wrote author and filmmaker Michael Moore.
Ali- we will NEVER forget your courage, standing up to those in power. You gave up your title & your career rather than kill Vietnamese. RIP— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) June 4, 2016
George Foreman, the boxer Ali beat to regain the title in “Rumble in the Jungle” in 1974, paid tribute to the champion via Twitter.
“Ralph Ali, Frazier & Foreman we were 1 guy. A part of me slipped away, ‘The greatest piece'” Foreman wrote.
Ralph Ali, Frazier & Foreman we were 1 guy. A part of me slipped away, "The greatest piece" https://t.co/xVKOc9qtub— George Foreman (@GeorgeForeman) June 4, 2016
Former middleweight champion Roy Jones, Jr. was both “saddened” and “relieved” when he paid his respects to “the greatest.”
My heart is deeply saddened yet both appreciative and relieved that the greatest is now resting in the greatest place.— Roy Jones Jr. (@RealRoyJonesJr) June 4, 2016
Academy award-winning actress Patricia Arquette honored Ali on Twitter, tweeting, “Love and peace to the family of the greatest
#MuhammadAli Always the champ!:
Prince and Ali. ???????????????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/TwZIwQ0qgI— Holly Robinson Peete (@hollyrpeete) June 4, 2016
Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal tweeted that meeting Muhammad Ali was a “dream come true.”
Rest in Peace #MuhammedAli Had the dream come true of meeting him. The G.O.A.T. He said it himself. And then could back up what he said.— Phil Rosenthal (@PhilRosenthal) June 4, 2016
6-time NBA Champion Scottie Pippen called Ali “the champion of champions” in his Twitter tribute.
ABC’s Ben Sherwood tweeted another famous Muhammad Ali quote.
"Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare." - 1/2 Muhammad Ali #RIP— Ben Sherwood (@bensherwood) June 4, 2016
"Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” - Muhammad Ali #RIP 2/2— Ben Sherwood (@bensherwood) June 4, 2016
Ali was sent to the hospital on Thursday due to a respiratory problem. At the time, the move was referred to as a “precaution.” 24 hours later, Muhammad had been placed on life support with his family members saying that they “feared the worst.”
Late Friday Ali was declared dead by a family spokesperson while confined at a hospital in Phoenix Arizona.
As a young man, Muhammad was vibrant and full of life. If there’s anything that can match his foot and hand speed in the ring, it was his sharp tongue. After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984 at age 42, Ali’s coordination started to deteriorate.
Muhammad Ali has perhaps the most memorable bouts in boxing history. He (then Cassius Clay) won the title for the first time as a heavy underdog against Sonny Liston in February 1964. The “Fight of the Century” and “Thrilla in Manila” against Joe Frazier were some of the toughest fights Ali had ever fought in. At age 32, Ali shocked everyone when he knocked out George Foreman to regain his title.
“Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest human beings I have ever met. No doubt he was one of the best people to have lived in this day and age,” Foreman said to BBC following Ali’s death.
Ali’s exploits outside the ring are just as legendary. He received heavy criticism from many white Americans when he converted to Islam and changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali. He also refused to be conscripted into the US military on account of his strong opposition against the Vietnam war.
“Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong.” he said to reporters when he refused to be drafted into the army.
In 1996, Ali felt well enough to light the torch at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. His hands shook, but as is typical of him throughout his entire life, he soldiered on and finished the job.
Muhammad Ali’s great legacy continues to inspire even in death. How has he inspired you?
[Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images]