Boxing hero Muhammad Ali had his final fight late Friday night after a 32-year battle with Parkinson's disease, according to family spokesperson Bob Gunnell. He passed away at age 74 after being hospitalized in Phoenix the night before.
According to the family, his funeral will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The family said it will be giving a media briefing about the funeral plans Saturday morning.
In his life time, Ali fought at the Houston Astrodome a total four times. The fights included matches against Cleveland Williams in November 1966, Ernie Turrell in 1967, Jimmy Ellis in 1971 and later that year he fought Buster Mathis.
Ali defeated all four challengers, winning the WBA World Heavyweight Title with his win over Williams.
The family released a statement saiying, "(We) would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayer and support and ask for privacy at this time."
A daughter of boxing legend said Friday that her "number one priority is her father's well-being" after he was hospitalized in Phoenix for what his family said was a respiratory issue.
Laila Ali "truly appreciates the outpouring of love for her family, as she spends quality time with her dad," a statement issued by her business manager said.
The daughter's statement came on a night that Reuters, citing a source close to the family, reported that Ali was close to death. He was hospitalized on Thursday.
The boxing legend, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1984, was hospitalized in January 2015 with a urinary tract infection. He was hospitalized in December 2014 with pneumonia.
Ralph Ali, Frazier & Foreman we were 1 guy. A part of me slipped away, "The greatest piece" https://t.co/xVKOc9qtub— George Foreman (@GeorgeForeman) June 4, 2016
Prince, Michael, Whitney, Ali. My generation is leaving! We must love while we are here!— Carl Lewis (@Carl_Lewis) June 4, 2016
In recent years, Ali had largely stayed out of the public spotlight. He once was known not only for his athletic prowess as a three-time heavyweight champion but also for his social activism.
Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky, as Cassius Clay in January 1942. He began boxing as an amateur when he was 12 years old and in 1964 became heavyweight champion with a knockout of Sonny Liston. That year he joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name.
Ali's sparkling career was interrupted for more than 3 years in the 1960s when he refused induction into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and was convicted of draft evasion. The Supreme Court overturned the conviction.
As it turns out, Ali was registered as a Houston resident at the time.
He went on to win the heavyweight title twice more before retiring for good in 1981.