#RIPMuhammadAli: He was bold, pretty, superior and skilful say Tweeple

Tributes flowed on social media for one of the greatest boxers of all time.

other sports Updated: Jun 04, 2016 11:24 IST
In this May 25, 1965 file photo, perspiration beads on the face of world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali during training for his fight with Sonny Liston, in Lewiston, Maine. (AP)

Former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, whose record-setting boxing career, unprecedented flair for showmanship, and controversial stands made him one of the best-known figures of the 20th century, died on Friday aged 74.

Ali’s death was confirmed in a statement issued by family spokesman Bob Gunnell late Friday evening, a day after he was admitted to a Phoenix-area hospital with a respiratory ailment.

Tributes flowed on social media for one of the greatest boxers of all time.

His official Twitter handle mourned Ali’s death with a beautiful photo.

Ali had long suffered from Parkinson’s syndrome, which impaired his speech and made the once-graceful athlete almost a prisoner in his own body.

Ali proclaimed himself “the greatest” - as well as “the boldest, the prettiest, the most superior, most scientific, most skillfullest.”

Few could argue with him at his peak in the 1960s. With his dancing feet and quick fists, he could - as he put it - float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. He was the first person to win the heavyweight championship three times.

Ali became much more than a colorful and interesting athlete. He spoke boldly against racism in the ‘60s, as well as the Vietnam War.

Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on Jan. 17, 1942, as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., a name shared with a 19th century slavery abolitionist. He later changed his name after his conversion to Islam.

Ali is survived by his wife, the former Lonnie Williams, who knew him when she was a child in Louisville, along with his nine children.

First Published: Jun 04, 2016 11:23 IST