Boxing legend Muhammad Ali dies at 74

Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali stands over fallen challenger Sonny Liston, shouting and gesturing shortly after dropping Liston with a short hard right to the jaw on May 25, 1965, in Lewiston, Maine. The bout lasted only one minute into the first round. Ali is the only man ever to win the world heavyweight boxing championship three times. He also won a gold medal in the light-heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympic Games in Rome as a member of the U.S. Olympic boxing team. In 1964 he dropped the name Cassius Clay and adopted the Muslim name Muhammad Ali. (AP Photo/John Rooney)

PHOENIX (AP) – Muhammad Ali, the magnificent heavyweight champion whose fast fists and irrepressible personality transcended sports and captivated the world, has died according to a statement released by his family. He was 74.

Ali suffered for years from Parkinson’s disease, which ravaged his body but could never dim his larger-than-life presence. He was hospitalized earlier this week.

A towering figure in his prime, he still traveled and made appearances in his later years despite being muted by the thousands of punches he took during his remarkable career.

He beat the invincible Sonny Liston, fought a string of thrilling fights with Joe Frazier and stopped George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire. But he paid a terrible price for the estimated 29,000 punches he took to his head during a career that made him perhaps the most recognized person in the world.

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