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‘He Was Trapped Inside of His Body’: Daughter Laila Ali Opened Up About Muhammad Ali’s Final Moments in a 2016 Interview

Published 10/22/2022, 1:30 PM EDT

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On June 3, 2016, Muhammad Ali passed away, leaving his family and fans behind. He was 74 at the time of his demise. Ali had long suffered because of Parkinson’s disease before succumbing to it. After Ali’s death, Good Morning America got in touch with Ali’s beloved daughter and former world champion boxer Laila Ali.

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Speaking with journalist Robin Roberts, Laila Ali spoke about the final moments spent with her father Ali. She expressed that even though she was sad; she was simultaneously relieved at the thought that her father would no longer suffer because of Parkinson’s disease, which tortured him and her for a significant part of their life.


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Despite her loss, Laila Ali spoke with firmness attached to her words. She felt that while her father lived with Parkinson’s, he was trapped inside his body. Watching him struggle with the disease was too much. This is why even though Muhammad Ali fell into eternal sleep, Laila Ali felt she had found comfort to speak of.

via Getty

She said, “I’ve been feeling low since before my father passed away. I can say that I’m obviously really sad but I’ve been sad for a long time. Watching my father struggling with Parkinson’s disease.”

“He’d hold your head up and you’d say, ‘Yeah, he’s doing great but I felt he was trapped inside of his body. So, I have comfort knowing he’s not suffering anymore.”

Muhammad Ali struggled over three decades with Parkinson’s disease


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Officially, as was revealed in public, Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when he was 42 years old. However, his elder daughter Maryum Ali suspected Muhammad to have shown signs of Parkinson’s at least 6 years before.

via Imago

A study later contributed the information that Ali in his career had absorbed 200,000 blows (a surprising figure) leading to Parkinson’s. Ali left a legacy behind. His demise was personal to many of his supporters, who made a large part of the champ’s family and ring life.

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Samrat Sardar

1306 articles

Samrat Sardar is a Boxing writer at EssentiallySports and is currently a final year undergraduate student of English literature. A passionate content creator, he has been writing since his high school days, and possesses work experience as a commercial writer for companies such as WordsKraft among others. Samrat believes he fell in love with boxing the day he watched Vasiliy Lomachenko share the ring with Guillermo Rigondeaux.

Edited By: Ajinkya Aswale