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Muhammad Ali: The Boxing Legend and Fighter who transcended sports world, dies at 74

Ali spoke out against racism, war and religious intolerance, while projecting an unshakeable confidence that became a model for African-Americans at the height of the civil rights era and beyond

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Muhammad Ali. Image source: Collider.com
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  • Along with a fearsome reputation as a fighter, Ali spoke out against racism, war and religious intolerance
  • Ali, who had long suffered from Parkinson’s syndrome which impaired his speech
  • Ali was stripped of his world boxing crown for refusing to join the U.S. Army and fight in Vietnam

The death of Muhammad Ali, the former heavyweight champion known as much for his political activism as his boxing brilliance, triggered a worldwide outpouring of affection and admiration for one of the best-known figures of the 20th century.

Ali, who had long suffered from Parkinson’s syndrome which impaired his speech and made the once-graceful athlete almost a prisoner in his own body, died on Friday, June 3 at age 74.

The cause of death was septic shock due to unspecified natural causes, a family spokesman said on Saturday, June 4. Ali was admitted to a Phoenix-area hospital, HonorHealth, with a respiratory ailment on Monday, May 30.

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“He’ll be remembered as a man of the world who spoke his mind and wasn’t afraid to take a chance and went out of his way to be a kind, benevolent individual that really changed the world,” the family spokesman, Bob Gunnell, said at a news conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Despite Ali’s failing health, his youthful proclamation that he was “the greatest” rang true until the end for millions of people around the world who respected him for his courage both inside and outside the ring.

President Jimmy Carter greets Muhammad Ali at a White House dinner, 1977. Image source: Wikipedia
President Jimmy Carter greets Muhammad Ali at a White House dinner, 1977. Image source: Wikipedia

Along with a fearsome reputation as a fighter, Ali spoke out against racism, war and religious intolerance, while projecting an unshakeable confidence that became a model for African-Americans at the height of the civil rights era and beyond.

Stripped of his world boxing crown for refusing to join the U.S. Army and fight in Vietnam,Ali returned in triumph by recapturing the title and starring in some of the sport’s most unforgettable bouts.

“I think when you talk about Muhammad Ali, as great an athlete, as great a boxer as he was, he was the greatest boxer of all time, he means so much more to the United Statesand the world,” said Ali’s long-time friend, boxing promoter Bob Arum.

"I'll leave you with one that I have hanging on my office wall, compliments of Nike: Impossible is nothing," Muhammad Ali. In photo- Michael Jordan vs Muhammad Ali (Image source: likesuccess.com)
“I’ll leave you with one that I have hanging on my office wall, compliments of Nike: Impossible is nothing,” Muhammad Ali. In photo- Michael Jordan vs Muhammad Ali (Image source: likesuccess.com)

“He was a transformative figure in our society.”

Bursting onto the boxing scene in the 1960s with a brashness that threatened many whites, Ali would come to be embraced by Americans of all races for his grace, integrity and disarming sense of humor.

“In the end, he went from being reviled to being revered,” civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson told CNN on Saturday.

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Pam Dorrough, a tourist in New York’s Times Square, admired Ali’s refusal to apologize for what he believed.

“The confidence – and I know everybody thought it was an arrogance about him – he always projected a confidence,” she said. “And he stood by that.”

President Barack Obama, the first African-American to reach the White House, said Ali was “a man who fought for us” and placed him in the pantheon of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela. (Reuters)

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Lack of Proper Sanitation Affects 620 Million Children Around The World: Report

Despite the improvements, more than a third of the girls in South Asia miss school for one to three days a month during their period.

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A new toilet recently installed in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. VOA

A lack of proper school toilets threatens the health, education and safety of at least 620 million children around the world, the charity WaterAid said in a new study published Friday.

Children at 1 in 3 schools lack access to proper toilets, putting them at risk of diarrhea and other infections and forcing some to miss lessons altogether, according to the study, based on data from 101 countries.

Guinea-Bissau in West Africa has the worst school toilets while Ethiopian children fare worst at home, with 93 percent of homes lacking a decent toilet according to the report, released ahead of World Toilet Day on Monday.

toilets, students
Students arrive for class at the Every Nation Academy private school in the city of Makeni in Sierra Leone, April 20, 2012. VOA

“The message here is that water and sanitation affect everything,” WaterAid spokeswoman Anna France-Williams told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “If there’s no toilet in schools, children will miss lessons and it will have an impact on their growing up.”

Diarrhea, infection risk

A lack of proper sanitation puts millions of children around the world in danger of diarrhea, which kills 289,000 children younger than 5 a year, WaterAid said.

But some regions have started to clean up their act, notably South Asia, where access to toilets in schools has improved.

More than half the schools in Bangladesh now have access to decent toilets, while students in 73 percent of schools in India and 76 percent of those in Bhutan can access basic sanitation.

Akramul Islam, director of water, sanitation and hygiene at the Bangladeshi charity BRAC, said the country’s once-high levels of open defecation — using open ground rather than toilets — were now less than 1 percent.

toilets, studentsac
India’s plight in sanitation has not improved much since ages.
Pixabay

“Today, schools have separate toilets for girls and boys and the issue of menstrual hygiene is also being addressed,” he said. “This has happened because of initiatives taken by both the government, the NGOs and other stakeholders.”

Also Read: 3 HIV+ Students Banned From School in Indonesia

Improvement needed

Despite the improvements, more than a third of the girls in South Asia miss school for one to three days a month during their period, WaterAid said, urging greater investment in basic sanitation.

“If we are serious about all children and young people, wherever they are, whatever their gender, physical ability or community background, having their right to clean water and sanitation, we must take decisive and inclusive action now,” said Chief Executive Tim Wainwright. (VOA)