Jun 04, 2016

By Bob Sheppard

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Muhammad Ali has died at the age of 74.

He was the world heavywight boxing champion who “floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee.”

He had a way with words, he was charming and cheery, he loved people and people loved him.

Ali was a three-time heavyweight champion, winning titles from Sonny Liston, George Foreman and Leon Spinks.

He fought two non-title bouts with Toronto’s own boxing legend George Chuvalo, and Chuvalo stayed on his feet in both. Ali called Chuvalo “the toughest guy I ever fought.”

Ali’s bouts were held around the world, from Manila to Zaire; from Madison Square Garden to Maple Leaf Gardens, and he was loved around the world, becoming probably the most recognizable person on the planet.

Parkinson’s disease ended his career in 1981, but he continued to make public appearances.

He died Friday in a Phoenix hospital after being admitted with respiratory problems. Family members were at his side.

A private family service will be held Thursday in Louisville.

A public procession and funeral will take place Friday. A eulogy will be delivered by former U-S President Bill Clinton.

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