The former Cassius Clay, who became Muhammad Ali, was a towering figure in the world of boxing who stuck to his principals at a time when it seemed all the world was against him.
After regaining the championship he lost through refusing to fight in the Vietnam conflict he went on to even greater glory, but would eventually face his toughest battle outside the ring as he fought against the cruel ravages of Parkinson’s Disease.
Ali began showing symptoms of the disease soon after retiring from the boxing ring in 1981, but his condition was not diagnosed until three years later. By that stage he had developed tremors, his speech was slurred, and his body movements had become slow. It was a deeply sad spectacle in later years to see the once powerful boxing champ reduced to a frail shadow of his former self, but he maintained his dignity throughout, working tirelessly for charity and establishing The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Centre and Movement Disorders Clinic. The amazing work he did in raising money for worthy causes is as much his legacy as his towering performances in the ring in such legendary bouts as The Rumble in the Jungle and The Thrilla in Manila.“As a fighter, you were something spectacular,” President Obama told Ali at his 70 birthday celebration in 2012: “You shocked the world, and you inspired it, too. And even after all the titles and legendary bouts, you’re still doing it.”That remains true despite the worldwide sadness now that the Louisville Lip has been stilled forever at the age of 74. We invite you to go the distance with us here and celebrate the very full life of a man who truly was The Greatest.