BREAKING NEWS – Various news outlets are reporting that Muhammad Ali is in grave condition at a Phoenix hospital with a severe respiratory infection. Family members are reportedly gathering by his bedside.
Ali, age 74, was hospitalized yesterday, June 2, for what was expected to be a brief stay. At that time, Bob Gunnell, a family spokesperson, described his condition as “fair” and asked that the privacy of the family be respected. But things worsened on Friday. In a tweet sent out at 6:29 EST, LA times boxing writer Lance Pugmire said that trustworthy sources confirmed that Ali’s condition was “very, very grave.”
Can confirm from very strong source that it’s “very, very grave” for @MuhammadAli.
Born Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali began his professional boxing career in 1960 at age 18 after winning a gold medal at the Rome Olympics. During his career, which lasted until 1981, he was a three-time world heavyweight champion. At his peak, he was the most recognizable man on the face of the earth. His opposition to the Vietnam War, which led him to be banned from boxing, expanded his fame. Ali was inactive for 43 months during his athletic prime as a result of his political views.
Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Syndrome shortly after his career was finished. The illness, attributed in part to blows he received in the head, can complicate the recovery from other illnesses. In recent years, Ali was hospitalized twice for urinary tract infections, most recently in January of 2015. He has not spoken in public in years and looked very frail at his last public appearance in Phoenix in April.
This latest development in the Muhammad Ali saga comes less than a week after his childhood home in Louisville was opened to the public. The home was dedicated as a historical marker by the Louisville Historical Society in 2012.
Editor’s note: Thanks to Tom Z. Spencer who contributed to this article. Check back frequently as we continue to monitor this developing story.