Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali has died following a respiratory issue and decades-long battle with Parkinson’s. The boxer’s spokesperson said on Thursday that Ali was in “fair” condition, but his health rapidly deteriorated in the ensuing hours.
Ali leaves behind plenty of people who are devastated by this loss, in particular his large family. Ali has been married several times and has nine kids in total, many of whom went on to become extraordinary people of their own.
Here are five fast facts about Muhammad Ali and his family.
1. He Proposed to His First Wife the Night They Met
Muhammad Ali met his first wife, a cocktail waitress named Sonji Roi, in June of 1964. She recalls that he asked her to marry him the night they met, and the ceremony took place just one month later, in August of 1964. Roi was 23 at the time, while Ali was 22.
Ali and Roi were together for about a year a half before divorcing in January of 1966. They separated due to Ali’s devotion to Islam. According to The Telegraph, Roi noted that Ali had coerced her into adopted Muslim customs, and she later said that Islam had “stolen” her husband’s mind.
Ali and Roi did not have any children together.
2. He Had Four Kids With His Second Wife
One year after he divorced Roi, Ali remarried. His second wife was Belinda Boyd, who was 17 at the time she married Ali. After the wedding ceremony, Boyd converted to Islam and changed her name to Khalilah Ali.
“Even though he was eight years older than me, I was a little smarter than him and a little bit more educated, too,” Khalilah later said of their time together. “And helping and guiding him was the best time of my entire life.”
While together, Muhammad and Khalilah had four children: Maryum, Jamillah, Rasheda, and Muhammad Ali, Jr.
In 1974, Muhammad Ali began having an affair with actress and “poster girl” Veronica Porsche, who was 18 at the time. Khalilah later told The USA Today that Ali made her aware of the affair when it was happening.
3. He Had Two Kids With His Third Wife
Veronica Porsche and Muhammad Ali were actually married in 1974 in a secret ceremony while Ali was still with Khalilah, according to The USA Today.
She said that at the time, nobody knew about the ceremony but the two of them, the man officiating the wedding, and Ali’s masseur. Porsche says she did not tell anyone out of fear of Ali facing legal consequences for having two wives.
“It was quiet, nobody was there,” Porsche said in an interview years later. “Something inside me made it OK because I loved him. That’s how I felt.”
Ali and Porsche were officially, legally married in the summer of 1977. They already had a baby girl, Hana, by the time they were married, and Veronica gave birth to Laila a few months after the wedding.
Porsche and Ali divorced nine years later, apparently due to his infidelity.
“The major reason was, and everyone knows, that he fooled around,” she told the USA Today.
4. His Fourth Wife Was an Old Friend
The same year Ali and Porsche got divorced, Ali married Yolanda Williams, whom he had been friends with since 1964. Williams is Ali’s current wife, and they have now been together for 30 years.
Ali and Williams have one child together, Asaad Amin, who they adopted when Amin was five months old.
5. His Daughter Is An Accomplished Boxer
When she grew up, one of Ali’s daughters would go on to become an accomplished professional boxer of her own.
Laila Ali, Muhammad’s second daughter with his third wife, Veronica, began boxing at the age of 18, and she began her career in October of 1999. She went on to have an incredibly impressive, undefeated career, concluding her last professional fight in 2007.
When Laila told her father she wanted to get into boxing, he was concerned about his daughter getting into such a dangerous sport. In fact, he had previous made comments against female boxing, saying in 1978, “Women are not made to be hit in the breast, and face like that..”
Laila isn’t the only one of Muhammad’s daughters to go to to become famous in her own right. Maryum, Muhammad’s first child with his second wife, went on to become a successful hip hop artist.