Time: 11:47 p.m. CEST
Muhammad Ali, (74) the legendary boxer who said about himself, “The Greatest,” died on Friday in Arizona, CNN reports. Ali had been at HonorHealth Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center in Scottsdale since Thursday with what spokesman Bob Gunnell had described as a respiratory issue. Ali fought Parkinson’s disease for almost 32 years. CNN says, “The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening,” Gunnell said in a statement. “The Ali family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support and asks for privacy at this time.”
Despite Ali’s family who mourned his death, the world paid respect to the boxing legend. President Barack Obama said he and first lady Michelle Obama mourn Ali’s passing.
“But we’re also grateful to God for how fortunate we are to have known him, if just for a while; for how fortunate we all are that The Greatest chose to grace our time,” the Obamas said in a statement.
The President said he has a pair of Ali’s gloves on display in his private study off of the Oval Office, beneath a photograph of the legend.
Obama said Ali “fought for us.” “He stood with King and Mandela; stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t. His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing. It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail. But Ali stood his ground. And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today,” the President said in a statement issued by the White House.