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Legendary fighter Muhammad Ali has today died in Phoenix, Arizona, aged 74.
The Kentucky-born boxer with the golden gloves and the memorable quotes succumbed to a series of health issues that began back in 2014, further complicated by Parkinson’s.
He lived a fabled life, winning 37 of his 61 fights by knock-out, and earned a Gold Medal at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games for the US. Beyond the ring, Ali (born Cassius Clay) was known for his wisdom, his self-belief, paradoxically as a boxer, his immense kindness.
Sports Illustrated: “Sportsman of Century”
BBC: “Sports Personality of Century”
AP: “Greatest Heavyweight of 20th Century”
— The Int’l Spectator (@intlspectator) June 4, 2016
Soon after the news of his death broke this morning (around 6am GMT) his fans and followers took to social media soon after his death to pay their respects. Fellow boxers led the praise and mourning:
— Mike Tyson (@MikeTyson) June 4, 2016
Ali, Frazier & Foreman we were 1 guy a part of me slipped away “the greatest piece” Muhammad Ali.
— George Foreman (@GeorgeForeman) June 4, 2016
A giant among men, Ali displayed a greatness in talent, courage & conviction, that most of us will EVER be able to truly comprehend. #RIPAli
— Lennox Lewis (@LennoxLewis) June 4, 2016
We lost a giant today. You will always be GOAT. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Ali family. May God bless them. pic.twitter.com/g7s6GETODG
— Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) June 4, 2016
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!
A photo posted by Floyd Mayweather (@floydmayweather) on
Beyond the giants of the boxing world, celebrities, sports personalities from other fields, and world leaders also expressed their sorrow at Ali’s passing.
RIP to the greatest! Ali forever.
— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) June 4, 2016
Twitter’s a great thing on days like this. I love reading about & sharing experiences of someone as important as Muhammad Ali. #TheGreatest
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) June 4, 2016
Ali-Don’t count the days; make the days count.
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) June 4, 2016
Muhammad Ali, courageous in all things in which he believed. Led by example. Dignity, humor, generosity, love. Still dancing.
— Susan Sarandon (@SusanSarandon) June 4, 2016
Long statement from President and Mrs. Obama on the death of Muhammad Ali: pic.twitter.com/Jm2weDf2NC
— West Wing Reports (@WestWingReport) June 4, 2016
This Man. This King. This Hero. This Human! Words cannot express. He shook up the World! God Bless Him. pic.twitter.com/FQgKup7swz
— Madonna (@Madonna) June 4, 2016
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 4, 2016
South African personalities also added their voice:
You realize when you look back, Ali wasn’t just one of the greatest boxers of all time he was one of the greatest people of all time.
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) June 4, 2016
— Derek Watts (@DerekWatts) June 4, 2016
— Marc Lottering (@marclottering) June 4, 2016
— hashim amla (@amlahash) June 4, 2016
At the time of writing, #RIPMuhammadAli was Twitter’s top trending hashtag with over 570 000 tweets. Additional trends include “Cassius Clay”, “Muhammad Ali”, and simply “Ali”.
Feature image: Knowle West Media Centre via Flickr