12 minutes ago by STAFF WRITERS, WIRES Source: FOX SPORTS MUHAMMAD Ali has died at age 74. The three-time boxing world champion passed away in a Phoenix hospital surrounded by his family, a spokespoerson confirmed to NBC News. He was admitted to the hospital on Friday (Australian time) with a respiratory problem, which rapidly worsened and saw him placed on life support. Sources close to the family said funeral arrangements were being made in Ali’s final hours. Known worldwide as “The Greatest of All Time”, a larger-than-life character with a wit matched only by his boxing skills, Ali was undoubtedly the most famous sportsman who ever lived. He had suffered from Parkinson’s disease for more than three decades and kept a low profile in recent years. At the height of his career, Ali was known for his dancing feet and quick fists and his ability, as he put it, to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. He retired from boxing in 1981 with a 56-5 record. Ali’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s came about three years after he retired. Muhammad Ali: The Greatest of All Time.Source: News Corp Australia Ali, born in Louisville, Kentucky, as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr, changed his name in 1964 after his conversion to Islam. He was an Olympic boxing light-heavyweight gold medallist at Rome 1960 before launching his professional career the same year. He first won the heavyweight world title against Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964. He was effectively stripped of the title for refusing to fight with the US armed forces in Vietnam, with the heavy price he paid for standing by his principles (“No Vietcong ever called me nigger”) making him a polarising figure at the time but later cementing his legend. Stripped of his boxing license, he did not fight from March 1967 to October 1970 (ages 25 to almost 29). After returning in 1971, he lost a title shot to Joe Frazier in “The Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden, a result he avenged in 1974 - though Frazier had already lost the title to George Foreman. Muhammad Ali after retaining his world heavyweight title in 1965.Source: News Limited Ali’s win gave him a shot at Foreman in one of boxing’s most legendary fights: The Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire, in October 1974. Ali won by eight-round knockout, having exhausted his bigger, stronger and younger rival by tricking him into punching himself out via the “rope-a-dope”. Ali won a trilogy fight against Joe Frazier, the famous “Thrilla in Manila” in October 1975. He also had a trilogy match against Ken Norton, who once broke his jaw, the following year and took a heavily-contested decision. Ali lost his title to Leon Spinks early in 1978 but reclaimed it the same year via an uninspiring unanimous decision, making him an unprecedented three-time world heavyweight champ. Muhammad Ali in 2006.Source: Getty Images He briefly retired but returned to fight former sparring partner Larry Holmes in an ill-fated title match in 1980, resulting in his only knockout loss. His last fight was against Trevor Berbick on December 11, 1981 in Nassau - a 10-round decision loss. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, a condition that became gradually more debilitating. He made an extraordinary public appearance in 1996 at the Atlanta Olympics, touching the world’s heart as he trembled while lighting the flame. He received the highest US civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2005. In his later years, he was rarely seen in public. Ali was married four times, for seven daughters and two sons. One daughter, Laila, followed in her father’s footsteps and became a boxing world champion. She was never beaten. http://www.foxsports.com.au/boxing/...4/news-story/90bd3f2a7af354f7d2a27d9199290f86..