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RIP Muhammad Ali, 1942-2016

"The Greatest of All Time" passed away on Friday evening.

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Muhammad Ali, the former three-time heavyweight champion of the world, died on Friday evening. The boxing legend was admitted to a hospital in the Phoenix-area earlier this week due to respiratory complications. Family spokesman Bob Gunnell confirmed Ali’s passing to NBC News, saying: "After a 32-year battle with Parkinson's disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening.”

Ali remained one of the most beloved and revered athletes long after his career was over. Tributes have been pouring in. “We lost a giant today. Boxing benefited from Muhammad Ali’s talents but nearly as much as mankind benefited from his humanity," said Manny Pacquiao of Ali.

Ali was a wizard with words and he often mesmerized his opponents with his epic trash talking. But as he often said himself: “It's not bragging if you can back it up," and he certainly did that during his legendary career in the ring. Ali also took strong stances on social issues, particularly in 1967, when he refused to fight in Vietnam. That position would cost him three years out of the ring, arguably three years of his prime. 

He was born Cassius Clay on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky. The young Clay took to the sweet science as a 12-year-old and the highlight of his amateur career was when he won the gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Rome Olympics. In the 60s, he changed his name to Muhammad Ali after converting to Islam. 

George Foreman, who was knocked out by Ali in the eighth round of their legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” fight in Kinshasa on October 30, 1974, paid this tribute on Twitter:

Here is the tribute from Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon:

Ali was much loved at Muscle & Fitness. Our editor-in-chief, Shawn Perine, took to Twitter to pay his respects:

Dwayne Johnson posted his own tribute on Saturday, saying:

I was in the air last night flying from Atlanta to London when I got the text from a close friend that within' a few hours we were going to lose Muhammad. Ali inspired myself and generations around the world to be hungry to achieve, work as hard as you possibly can, to be a great as you possibly can be and make sure that not a day goes by where you don't do your absolute best to make the world smile and feel good. Feel inspired. And feel that no matter how hard times may be, there's always hope for tomorrow. From hanging out with you in New Zealand as this little punk kid, to years later as a WWE rookie when you whispered to me "Can you rumble?" to a few years later when you bestowed upon me "The People's Champ" moniker. I will always be grateful for the impact you've had on me. Thank you and I'll miss you. Much love and strength to the Ali family. Rest in love and light Champ. You'll always be the Greatest of All Time. And pretty.

A photo posted by therock (@therock) on

May Muhammad Ali, the Greatest of All Time, rest in peace.

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