Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali’s family is giving differing accounts on “The Greatest’s” current health. While his brother says the boxer is set to die at any moment, Ali’s other family members say the boxer is feeling just fine.
My brother can’t speak — he doesn’t recognize me. He’s in a bad way. He’s very sick. It could be months, it could be days. I don’t know if he’ll last the summer. He’s in God’s hands. We hope he gently passes away. He told me before he got really bad that he’s in no pain. He grabbed my arm and whispered, ‘Rah, I’ve achieved everything I’ve ever wanted to accomplish. Don’t cry for me, I’m in no pain.’ It’s best he goes now. The longer he goes on, so does his suffering and misery.
Rahman also spoke about how revered and respected his brother is:
He’s going to heaven, there’s no doubt. If his funeral was tomorrow, all the statesmen of the world would turn up. He touched everyone from the rich to the poor. I love my brother over anybody. Of all the famous people who ever lived, he’s the best. Everyone knows Muhammad Ali. He’s up there with Jesus Christ. I cry because it hurts me, it breaks my heart. I hope to see him again alive, but I can only hope.
Ali’s brother feels that he is near death, but Ali’s other family members say otherwise. Ali’s daughter, May May, spoke to The Associated Press on Sunday morning and reported that her father is doing just fine:
He’s fine, in fact he was talking well this morning. These rumors pop up every once in a while but there’s nothing to them.
To lend more credibility to the news of Ali’s good health, Ali’s family tweeted out a photo of the aging boxer enjoying yesterday’s Super Bowl:
— RealALI_me (@RealALI_me) February 3, 2013
Ali, 71, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease since 1984. Before being stricken with Parkinson’s, Ali flourished as one of the world’s greatest boxers. He made his pro boxing debut at age 18, right after winning gold at the 1960 Olympics.
Afterward, he went on to become the first and only three-time world heavyweight boxing champ.
Most recently, he appeared at the London Olympics opening ceremony and the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Last month, Ali even celebrated his 71st birthday by viewing a video of “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing bout.
Gene Kilroy, Ali’s former business manager, noted the boxer’s joyous manner during the occasion:
He was all excited watching it. It was good to see him in great spirits and looking so good. He’s very comfortable in his Parkinson’s body. As he said many times, it could be worse.
If he should pass, Ali has been quoted as saying what he wants on his tombstone. According to his brother Rahman, Ali requested the following Martin Luther King quote:
I tried to love somebody, I did try to feed the hungry. I did try, in my life, to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.’The Greatest.’