Muhammad Ali Dies; Legendary Boxer Was 74

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"The Greatest," "The People's Champion."  

Those were just two nicknames that will forever describe the late boxing legend, Muhammad Ali, who passed away on June 3rd at the age of 74.

Muhamma Ali in 1960

"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," spokesman Bob Gunnell said in a statement to CNN.

"The Ali family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support and asks for privacy at this time."

Ali, who's real name is Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1942.

He was famous for heckling his opponents, and came up with the quote, "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" in 1964 when he beat Sonny Liston to become the heavyweight champion of the world.

The boxer changed his name from Clay to Ali that same year after converting to Islam.

Earlier today, sources told Radar Online that Ali's family was "preparing for the worst" inside an Arizona hospital, where the athlete - who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1984 - was being treated.

“Ali is in dire straits and is rapidly deteriorating,” a source told the site. “His breathing has become very shallow, requiring tubes.”

“Shallow breathing does not bring enough oxygen into your body,” the source explained.

“This exacerbates a number of unfavorable things, including, in his advanced case, fatigue and constipation. The latter is a large intestine issue that negatively impacts the lungs & the skin.

"Ali no longer feels the touch on the surface of his skin, mosquito bites, or cuts, etc. due to his age. And this is a degenerative situation that can’t be reversed.”

Ali was admitted to the hospital on June 2nd in "fair condition," according to People, and was expected to only stay for a brief time.

His daughter, boxer Laila Ali told the magazine in March how much her father's determination inspires her.

"He's such a fighter, still, when at times he seems weak and not able to handle it," she said.

"He comes through stronger than ever. He's still fighting regardless and I love my dad for that." 

Ali is survived by his nine children and his fourth wife, actress Yolonda Williams.

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