Muhammad Ali is being remembered just as he wished he would, as many people want they will. People from all over the world have reacted after he passed away Friday night following a long battle against Parkinson’s disease.
At age 74, he also got to spend his final hours as many human beings wish they would: surrounded by his loving family with a healthy heart that kept beating for 30 minutes after the rest of his organs failed, perhaps because it was glad to have done so much for the world.
The globally acclaimed fighter was hospitalized Monday in Scottsdale, Ariz., with respiratory complications and was pronounced dead Friday at 9:10 p.m. Family spokesman Bob Gunnel said Ali’s official cause of death was “septic shock due to unspecified natural causes,” The Washington Post reported.
“All of us were around him hugging and kiss him and holding his hands, chanting the Islamic prayer,” daughter Hana Ali expressed Saturday as she took on Twitter to paid tribute to her father. “All of his organs failed, but his HEART wouldn’t stop beating.”
John Ramsey, a longtime friend of Ali who works for WAVE in the boxing legend’s hometown and has a radio show on ESPN, told CNN that he was at the hospital with Ali’s family when the fighter passed away.
Ramsey said Lonnie called him that morning to inform him Ali’s health condition was quickly deteriorating.
“She said ‘You might want to come out,’ which I decided to do,” he said, according to the CNN report.
Muhammad Ali's daughter shares emotional post about his passing: "Our hearts are literally hurting" pic.twitter.com/PWvtZXCCyN
— ABC News (@ABC) June 4, 2016
Muhammad Ali’s funeral will reflect everything he built throughout his life
Funeral proceedings will take place in Louisville, Ky., Ali’s hometown, Gunnel said. The blue, red and white flag was lowered to half-staff at City Hall.
“Muhammad Ali belongs to the world,” Mayor Greg Fischer declared Saturday at a brief memorial, as quoted by the Washington Post. “But he only has one hometown.”
Gunnel noted that Ali himself planned his funeral years in advance. There will be a family-only ceremony on Thursday and a procession across Louisville on Friday, followed by a private interment at Cave Hill Cemetery and a multi-faith, public memorial service at two p.m. ET at the Yum Center, a basketball arena where Ali’s passion for boxing began at the age of 12.
Former President Bill Clinton is set to deliver eulogies. Comedian Billy Crystal and broadcaster Bryant Gumbel will express their thoughts, too. Former Mormon bishop and Ali’s friend Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) will be among the officiants.
The Yum Center has a little more than 22,000 seats, but everyone with an Internet connection will be able to watch the service as it will be streamed live on the website for the Muhammad Ali Center, CNN reported.
Gunnel made it clear that Ali’s funeral will be open to everyone as it is meant to reflect the champion’s long-lasting commitment to people of all backgrounds, races, and religions. The family of the three-time heavyweight champion wants to follow his wishes to give one most potent message of peace and inclusion, Gunnel added.
President Barack Obama said in a statement that Muhammad Ali’s influence had made the world and Americans better. He expressed his condolences on behalf of the first lady Michelle Obama and later spoke with Ali’s widow via telephone, the White House informed.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar took on Facebook late Friday night to say that America had lost a man who had done so much for the nation, and everyone would stand to remember his efforts for the benefit of his community and country. He added that Ali’s sacrifice for others was placed on the brightest side of Americans.
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 4, 2016
The fighter was born as Cassius Clay, but years after he won the 1960 Olympic gold medal in Rome, he embraced the Nation of Islam and said Cassius Clay had been his “slave name,” which is why he changed his name to Muhammad Ali. His religious beliefs led him to refuse to take part in the Vietnam War, a decision that in 1967 cost the civil rights leader his heavyweight crown.
After the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had announced his proposal of banning Muslims from entering the country last December, Ali made a compelling statement. He said American political leaders should take advantage of their position to help people understand that Islam has been misunderstood as a violent religion as “misguided murderers” have tergiversated Islam’s message.
In Ali’s 2004 memoir The Soul of a Butterfly: Reflections on Life’s Journey, which he did in collaboration with his daughter Hana Yasmeen, he described the man he wanted to be by the time of his death and how he would like to be remembered.
“I would like to be remembered as a man who won the heavyweight championship three times, who was humorous, and who treated everyone right. As a man who never looked down on those who looked up to him, and who helped as many people as he could. As a man who stood up for his beliefs no matter what. As a man who tried to unite all humankind through faith and love. And if all that’s too much, then I guess I’d settle for being remembered only as a great boxer who became a leader and champion for his people. And I wouldn’t’ even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was,” Ali wrote.
Source: Washington Post