THE KING IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE KING

ONE OF A KIND One of the world’s great­est ath­letes, who tran­scended his sport, race and pol­i­tics, dies at 74

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - As­so­ci­ated Press ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com

PHOENIX: He was fast of fist and foot – lip too – a heavy­weight champion who promised to shock the world and did. He floated. He stung. Mostly he thrilled, even af­ter the punches had taken their toll and his voice barely rose above a whis­per. He was The Great­est.

Muham­mad Ali died Satur­day at age 74, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the fam­ily. He was hos­pi­talised in the Phoenix area with res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems ear­lier this week, and his chil­dren had flown in from around the coun­try. “It’s a sad day for life, man. I loved Muham­mad Ali, he was my friend. Ali will never die,” Don King, who pro­moted some of Ali’s big­gest fights, said early Satur­day. “Like Martin Luther King his spirit will live on, he stood for the world.”

A fu­neral will be held in his home­town of Louisville, Ken­tucky. The city plans a me­mo­rial service Sun­day.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fis­cher or­dered flags low­ered to half-staff to hon­our Ali. “The val­ues of hard work, con­vic­tion and com­pas­sion that Muham­mad Ali de­vel­oped while grow­ing up in Louisville helped him be­come a global icon,” Fis­cher said. “As a boxer, he be­came The Great­est, though his most last­ing vic­to­ries hap­pened out­side the ring.”

Born Cas­sius Mar­cel­lus Clay on Jan­uary 17, 1942, in Louisville, Ali be­gan boxing at age 12 af­ter his new bi­cy­cle was stolen and he vowed to po­lice­man Joe Martin that he would “whup” the per­son who took it. He was only 89 pounds at the time, but Martin be­gan train­ing him at his boxing gym, the be­gin­ning of a six-year am­a­teur ca­reer that ended with the light heavy­weight Olympic gold medal in 1960.

With a wit as sharp as the punches he used to “whup” op­po­nents, Ali dom­i­nated sports for two decades be­fore time and Parkin­son’s dis­ease, trig­gered by thou­sands of blows to the head, rav­aged his mag­nif­i­cent body, muted his ma­jes­tic voice and ended his sto­ried ca­reer in 1981.

CON­TIN­UED ON P10

I am the great­est. I am the great­est that ever lived.

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