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Muhammad Ali, known as a civil rights champion, humanitarian, The People’s Champion and who proclaimed himself “The Greatest” has died.

The champ who was known around the world as the man who “floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee” died Friday at a Phoenix hospital, where he spent his most recent days being treated for respiratory complications from Parkinson’s Disease, that he had suffered with for three decades.

Ali passed away with his family at his side. One friend of the family said, “It was very peaceful.”

Ali’s funeral will be held in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

Muhammad Ali. Cassius Clay. 1968

Source: Marka / Getty

*Ali, was born with the name Cassius Clay on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky.  He started boxing at the age of 12 and won the Golden Globe titles before heading to the 1960 Olympics in Rome, where he later won a Gold medal as a light heavyweight.  It was shortly after that when he turned professional.

Over the span of his life, Ali said, he endured over 29,000 punches to the head in his career as a fighter.

He was diagnosed at the age of 42 with Parkinson’s disease.

*Personally, I met the champ, only once in Los Angeles, CA at the Whilshire Hotel.  He was being transported from his van, into a wheelchair with his wife by his side.  While I was not allowed to take a picture with him, I was able to speak briefly with him and we exchanged a hug. He was extremely warm and kind.

We have truly lost a very great person in this world.

May we keep his family in our prayers.

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