Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali Dead At 74

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Former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, one of the best-known figures of the 20th century, died on June 3, 2016 aged 74.

Muhammad Ali

* Former champion dies after long battle with Parkinson's

* Ali the first man to win heavyweight world title three times

* "Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee"

* Epic battles with Frazier, Foreman

* More than just a sportsman, Ali spoke out against inequality

Ali's diagnosis of Parkinson's came about three years after he retired from boxing in 1981.

His influence extended far beyond boxing. He became the unofficial spokesman for millions of blacks and oppressed people around the world because of his refusal to compromise his opinions and stand up to white authorities.

In a realm where athletes often battle inarticulateness as well as their opponents, Ali was known as the Louisville Lip and loved to talk, especially about himself.

"Humble people, I've found, don't get very far," he once told a reporter.

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His taunts could be brutal. "Joe Frazier is so ugly that when he cries, the tears turn around and go down the back of his head," he once said. He also dubbed Frazier a 'gorilla' but later apologized and said it was all to promote the fight.

Once asked about his preferred legacy, Ali said: "I would like to be remembered as a man who won the heavyweight title three times, who was humorous and who treated everyone right. As a man who never looked down on those who looked up to him ... who stood up for his beliefs ... who tried to unite all humankind through faith and love.

"And if all that's too much, then I guess I'd settle for being remembered only as a great boxer who became a leader and a champion of his people. And I wouldn't even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was."

Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on Jan. 17, 1942, as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., a name shared with a 19th century slavery abolitionist. He changed his name after his conversion to Islam.

Ali is survived by his wife, the former Lonnie Williams, who knew him when she was a child in Louisville, along with his nine children.

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