The sports and entertainment world is in mourning once again, after it was confirmed last night that boxing legend Muhammad Ali had passed away at the age of 74. The beloved pugilist passed after a 32-year battle with Parkinson's Disease last night at a Phoenix hospital, after being taken in for a respiratory condition on June 2. As news of his death started to spread, fans paid tribute to the legend through social media. Here's what boxer Floyd Mayweather had to say in a statement.
"Today my heart goes out to a pioneer, a true legend, and a hero by all means! Not a day went by entering the gym that I didn't think of you. Your charisma, your charm and above all, your class are all of the elements that will be greatly missed by myself and the world. You are someone that inspired me greatly throughout my boxing journey and words cannot express how great you were as a person! Thank you for everything you've done for Black America, in the the world of sports & entertainment and for the legacy you leave behind! My sincerest condolences to the Ali family!"
Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Clay on Jan. 17, 1942. He first started boxing at the age of 12 in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky when, after his bike was stolen, a local police officer suggested he take up boxing. After winning 100 of 108 amateur fights, he won the Olympic gold medal for boxing in 1960. Rumor has it that the boxing champ threw the medal into a river, after a Louisville waitress refused to serve him because he was black.
He went pro shortly after the Olympics, and in 1964 he converted to Muslim and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, called Ali "a true Muslim" and "a champion for peace and justice" after the boxer died. Take a look at the statement from CAIR national board chair Roula Allouch below.
"Muhammad Ali, a man who stood by his principles despite criticism and hardship, exemplified a true patriot and a true Muslim. His strength, courage and love of humanity has been, and will continue to be, an inspiration to people of all faiths and backgrounds in America and worldwide."
Muhammad Ali retired from boxing in 1981 with a professional record of 56 wins (37 by knockout) and five losses. He also starred as himself in the 1977 biopic The Greatest, based on his own book, and appeared as himself on a 1979 episode of Diff'rent Strokes. Below we have assembled a number of tributes that sprouted up on Twitter and Instagram after the boxer had passed, which you can check out below.
Muhammad Ali is dead at 74! A truly great champion and a wonderful guy. He will be missed by all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2016
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
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
For the greatest man I have ever known. https://t.co/OUZHVZWBHY— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) June 3, 2016
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
To honor Muhammad Ali's life & work, flags at all Metro Government facilities will be lowered to half-staff at 10am pic.twitter.com/Qm5xjkk6qr— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) June 4, 2016