Muhammad Ali’s Death: What Happened to Him?

Published 11/24/2022, 6:00 AM EST

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Three-time boxing world champion, Muhammad Ali, will always be remembered as the greatest athlete the world has ever seen. He wasn’t just a great fighter; he was a complete person with many talents, which earned him the moniker ‘The Greatest’. Sadly, we lost the legend in 2016. Let’s take a look at what happened to Ali. 

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Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and was named Cassius Clay. However, he later adopted Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. After a highly successful boxing career, he retired from the sport in 1981, with a record of 56-5-0. People began to notice changes in his speech in the late 1970s, although he hadn’t yet received a serious medical diagnosis.

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Ali was a very polarizing figure who never shied away from expressing outspoken opinions on politics, even as his health deteriorated. The boxer was banned from the sport for three years during his peak years. It took place as a result of his decision to not serve in the Vietnam War, citing his refusal to fight for a country that did not treat its own citizens equally.

What disease did Muhammad Ali have? 

Ali went back to the gym the following year to prepare for a three-week exhibition tour. It was noted at the time that his health had been rapidly declining. Then, in 1984, he received a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. It is a condition of the central nervous system that impairs the movement in your body.

Years after Ali’s death, his eldest daughter Maryum shed some light on her father’s disease and said, “I was so little, I remember seeing a difference in his speech when he fought Leon Spinks the second time actually. A lot wasn’t known about Parkinson’s back then, as it is now. We have great research now. People know what it is. Great therapies. But back then he was kind of lost and was told he had Parkinson’s syndrome and then it wouldn’t progress… but it did.”

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Prior to his retirement, when he was boxing, he had not yet received a Parkinson’s diagnosis. Later on, though, several fans thought that as the disease progressed through his body, his speed and agility were slipping away.

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Ali’s last words 

Ali had a respiratory issue that required hospitalization in 2016. ‘The People’s Champion’ passed away after a few days at the age of 74. For roughly 30 years, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease. There were no last words from him in the days before his death because the sickness had rendered him speechless.

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Ali’s close buddy Mancini, though, remembered the moment long before the boxer passed away when he last heard some words come out of his mouth. He said that after their embrace, Ali whispered, “Stay pretty” into Mancini’s ear.

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Written by:

Shashank Wankhede

775Articles

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:

Ajinkya Aswale

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