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‘I Am Happy That He’s No Longer Struggling’: Days After Muhammad Ali’s Death, Daughter Laila Ali Opened Up About Boxing Legend’s Deteriorating Health

Published 10/24/2022, 9:00 AM EDT

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Boxing great Muhammad Ali has lived a legendary life with enormous fame, money, and greatness. He is regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. However, in the late 1970s, people observed changes in his behavior and speech. Eventually, at the age of 42, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

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Years after Ali’s death, his daughter Laila Ali opened up about her father’s deteriorating health. She was in conversation with ‘CBS Mornings’, where she stated, “It’s hard to say whether or not somebody is ready but I do know that, you know, I do understand the circle of life. At some point we all have to pass away you know, obviously, I’m sad I miss my father I have been sad for a long time because my father being struggling with Parkinson’s for a long time.”


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“And he hasn’t been you know himself for a long time so I am happy knowing that he’s no longer struggling and that’s what gives me comfort. So again you know I’m sad he’s not here, I’m sad I can’t hug him, kiss him.”

Laila mentioned in an interview that she and her father didn’t spend a lot of time together due to his commitment to boxing. Even though her mother was absent, she does not hold her parents responsible, and she acknowledged that still misses her father.

Laila Ali described how she explained to her daughter about Muhammad Ali’s death 


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Laila followed in her father’s footsteps and went on to become a boxer. Although Ali was against his daughter fighting inside the ring, she followed her heart and now she is regarded as one of the finest female boxers of all time. 

She also described how she explained to her daughter about Ali’s death. Laila said, “My daughter Sydney who has a very special relationship with him doesn’t quite understand yet that papa’s gone to heaven and not coming back. I’m trying to explain that to her so it’s a hard time, but again I feel like I have to be strong.”


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Written by:

Shashank Wankhede


One take at a time

Shashank Wankhede is a Boxing writer at EssentiallySports. When it comes to boxing, the blockbuster film 'Rocky' sparked his interest in the sport. He holds Muhammad Ali in great regard and is a sincere admirer of his narrative, struggle, and accomplishments.
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Edited by:

Rohini Kottu