Muhammad Ali passes away

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has died at the age of 74, a spokesman for his family has confirmed.

The three-time world heavyweight champion had suffered from Parkinson’s disease since 1984 – three years after he retired from the sport.

In the days before his death, Ali had been admitted to hospital suffering from respiratory issues.

Reports had suggested his breathing problems had been complicated by his neurological disorder, which had long impaired his speech.

A statement from spokesman Bob Gunnell said: “Muhammad Ali’s funeral will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

“The Ali family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support and asks for privacy at this time.

Boxing manager Frank Warren said: “The world has lost an iconic figure. As a boxer, he was one of the greatest of all time.

“Not only that, but he crossed over into the mainstream and became bigger than sport. He was probably one of the most recognised people on the planet.

“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.”

Promoter Kellie Malone added: “Muhammad Ali was a man that stood up for his principles. He took on the American government and he helped the black community in America.

“He believed in certain things and he thought for what he believed in and he stood up for it.”