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Boxing legend's final year captured in photos by loving wife

RouTe (05 June 2016, 4:19)
JFK moment: The Rumble in the Jungle

A family spokesman, Bob Gunnell, issued a statement saying that Ali died late Friday.

"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," Gunnell said.
Ali poses with some of his seven daughters and two sons at his most recent birthday party in January of this year

A statement from the spokesman said the Ali family "would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and support" and asked for privacy.

Tributes have flooded in from around the world, with friends and fellow fighters paying Ali, who was voted Sports Personality of the Century, the highest accolades.

George Foreman, Ali's friend and rival from the famous Rumble in the Jungle fight, said: "We were like one guy - part of me is gone."
This was taken in November last year

He said he wanted Ali to be remembered as a "brave" humanitarian and not just a boxer, telling the BBC: "Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest human beings I have ever met. No doubt he was one of the best people to have lived in this day and age.

"To put him as a boxer is an injustice."

He also spoke of Ali's love for the UK and the way he was treated in the country.

"He loved London. If he had been born and raised in London he never would have changed his name," he said.

Ali, widely considered to be the greatest in boxing history - as well as a key figure in America's civil rights movement - is survived by his fourth wife Lonnie, whom he married in 1986, and nine children, many of whom were reported to have flown to their father's bedside on Thursday and Friday.
Muhammad Ali with Carrie Underwood

At his last public appearances he looked increasingly frail, including on April 9 when he wore sunglasses and was hunched over at the annual Celebrity Fight Night dinner in Phoenix, which raises funds for Parkinson's treatment.

The boxing great's funeral will be held in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

Ali, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's syndrome in 1984, the result of taking too many punches during his years in the ring, particularly at the end of his career, was hospitalized on June 2 in Phoenix for a respiratory ailment. BACK TO PAGE 1