Laila Ali, daughter of boxing legend, Muhammad Ali, gave an emotional farewell to “The Greatest.” Jamie Foxx took the stage at the 2016 BET Awards to pay tribute to Muhammad Ali, who passed away last month. Laila Ali tugged at viewer’s heartstrings while honoring her father.
The controversial sports figure of the 20th century died earlier this month in a Phoenix-area hospital. The international icon was 74-years-old. The New York Times reveals his death was confirmed by Bob Gunnell — a family spokesperson. Ali had Parkinson’s disease for more than 30 years. Jamie Foxx discussed how difficult it’s been losing some great historical figures this year.
“Listen, 2016 has been a tough year…We lost a lot of heroes and a lot of great people.”
“[Muhammad] is definitely more than just boxing, more than just entertainment, but a person who has shaped all of our lives and tonight his daughter is in the back.”
Celebrities and family and friends took to social media to honor Ali, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, only three years after he hung up his boxing gloves, according to Us Weekly. Will Smith, who portrayed Muhammad in the Oscar-nominated movie, Ali, was devastated at the news of Muhammad’s death.
“You shook up the world!” he wrote. “My mentor and my friend. You changed my life. Rest In Peace.” Even President Barack Obama mourned Muhammad, saying that “the world’s better” because of the boxer. Muhammad Ali had two sons, the rest of his children were all women.
Muhammad was respected for sacrificing three years of his boxing prime and millions of dollars for his antiwar principals. Later on in life, Ali was a beloved man, noted to be accommodating to all.
Laila Ali, former Dancing With The Stars alum, had great things to say about her former boxer father.
“My father lived his life with conviction and purpose…But to me and my eight sisters and brothers he was just Dad. As his youngest daughter, I can tell you that he was also a loving, gentle and principled man. He believed in evolving in his beliefs and his ideas.”
Muhammad Ali was a three-time world champion boxer whose incredible boxing style infused power, speed, and agility more cohesively than any fighter to come before him.
Laila got choked up during the speech as she continued speaking about her father.
“My father always said, ‘The man who views the world at 50 the same way as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.’ As my dad grew older he evolved in his mind, his heart and his spirit but one thing that never changed was his love and gratitude for all people.”
Laila composed herself, apologizing for becoming emotional and continued with her heartfelt speech.
“These past few weeks my father’s generosity and love has been matched by a worldwide outpouring of love and reverence for him and our entire family,” she added. “We’re all honored and grateful for the love, kindness and appreciation that’s been shown to him in return. My father also once said, ‘If people love each other as much as they love me, it would be a better world.’ If he was here today he would humbly ask you to pray, not just for our family, but for all of mankind.”
Muhammad Ali was reportedly divorced three times and father to nine children. Muhammad and wife Yolanda “Lonnie” Ali lived in Scottsdale, Arizona.
[Photos by Matt Sayles/ AP Photos]