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Ali's hospital stay more serious?

2016-06-03 22:24
Muhammad Ali (File)

Phoenix - Boxing legend Muhammad Ali remained in hospital for a second day on Friday for treatment of a respiratory ailment, amid media reports that his condition has been complicated by his Parkinson's disease.

Ali's spokesperson Bob Gunnell told the Louisville Courier-Journal on Friday that the 74-year-old former heavyweight world champion remained in fair condition in the Phoenix area and that a brief stay was still expected.

Gunnell noted the "media frenzy" touched off each time the iconic fighter is hospitalized, but declined to give the newspaper in Ali's hometown further details on Ali's condition.

US celebrity news website radaronline.com quoted an anonymous source as saying Ali required help breathing and that worried family members had gathered at his bedside.

Gunnell did not immediately respond to AFP requests for comment.

Ali, known globally not only for his storied ring career but also for his civil rights activism, has been hospitalized multiple times in recent years.

He spent time in hospital in 2014 after suffering a mild case of pneumonia and again in 2015 for a urinary tract infection.

His Parkinson's, thought to be linked to the thousands of punches he took during his career, has limited his public speaking for years.

But he has continued to make appearances and offer opinions through his family members and spokespeople.

In April, he attended a Celebrity Fight Night Dinner in Phoenix that raised funds for treatment of Parkinson's.

In December, he issued a statement rebuking US presidential hopeful Donald Trump over Trump's call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

News of his latest health setback sparked concern among admirers.

"Prayers & blessings to my idol," boxer Sugar Ray Leonard tweeted.

Ali - whose legendary boxing career stretched from 1960 to 1981 - dazzled fans with slick moves in the ring, and with his wit and engaging persona outside it.

His opposition to the Vietnam War saw him banned from the sport for years, but the US Supreme Court overturned his conviction for draft dodging in 1971.

Once vilified in some quarters for his conversion to Islam and his outspoken stance on civil rights issues, Ali held firm to earn dozens of tributes, lighting the Olympic torch in 1996 in Atlanta and being named a UN messenger of peace in 1998.

He received the highest US civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2005.

News of his hospitalisation brought well wishes from boxers and others on Twitter, including Sugar Ray Leonard, who modeled his career after Ali's.

"Prayers & blessings to my idol, my friend, & without question, the Greatest of All Time @MuhammadAli ! #GOAT," Leonard wrote.

Read more on:    muhammad ali  |  boxing

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