Muhammad Ali's daughter Hana Ali has paid an emotional tribute to her father describing him as "the love of my life." The boxing legend passed away on Friday, 3 June, at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona where he had been admitted a day earlier following a respiratory condition. He was 74.
As the world mourns his passing, his children paid tribute to their adored father. Recounting his last moments, with his family around him, his daughter Hana Ali tweeted: "Our hearts are literally hurting. But we are so happy Daddy is free now. We all tried to stay strong and whispered in his ear: " You can go now. We will be okay. We love you. Thank you. You can go back to god now."
"All of us were around him hugging and kissing him and holding his hands, chanting the Islamic prayer. All of his organs failed but his HEART wouldn't stop beating."
"Our father was a 'Humble Mountain! And now he has gone home to God. God bless you daddy. YOU ARE THE LOVE OF MY LIFE!"
The three-time world champion was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1984, just three years after quitting boxing. Ali was last in hospital in December 2014, and then again in January 2015, for a severe urinary tract infection that was initially diagnosed as pneumonia, ESPN reported.
His last official public appearance was in October, when he appeared at the Sports Illustrated Tribute to Muhammad Ali at The Muhammad Ali Centre in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. He was last seen in April attending one of his celebrity fight night dinners in Phoenix, Arizona in aid of the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Centre. Ali looked frail as he posed for a photograph with singer Carrie Underwood.
Tributes have been pouring in for the boxing champion with leading figures from the sporting world such as Mike Tyson, George Foreman and Amir Khan hailing Ali as an inspiration for millions.
"He was probably the greatest man I've ever met," George Foreman, a former boxing champion told BBC. "You met Muhammad Ali and you became better because of his presence. He meant so much to so many people that he will never die, really." Sugar Ray Leonard described him as his idol and "the Greatest of All Time".
Reacting to news of his passing, President Obama who had previously described Ali as his greatest inspiration, said Ali "shook up the world and the world is better for it".
Boxing manager Frank Warren told Sky News that: "(He) became bigger than sport", Warren said, adding: "Muhammad Ali probably paved the way for Barack Obama becoming President of the United States. He changed the whole concept of being black in America."
The entertainment world too paid tribute, with Lionel Richie describing him as his "hero" while in an emotional tweet Madonna wrote: "This Man. This King. This Hero. This Human! Words cannot express. He shook up the World! God Bless Him."
Ali's family have started preparing for his funeral after it was announced that his final rites will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Former President Bill Clinton, Bryant Gumbel and Billy Crystal will be giving eulogies at the service.