Family confirms Muhammad Ali died of septic shock, funeral to be held on Friday
During a press conference in Scottsdale, Arizona on Saturday, family spokesman Bob Gunnell said that Ali, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s syndrome in 1984, died at approximately 9:10 pm MST on Friday at the age of 74.
Ali had initially been hospitalized on Monday in the Phoenix area for a respiratory issue. News of his failing health emerged on early Friday.
“He’ll be remembered as a man of the world who spoke his mind and wasn’t afraid to take a chance and went out of his way to be a kind, benevolent individual that really changed the world,” Gunnell said, according to Reuters.
In an Instagram post, Hana Ali, one of the boxing champion’s daughters, described the family’s final moment at the former heavyweight champion’s bedside on Friday.
“All of us were around him hugging and kissing him and holding his hands, chanting the Islamic prayer,” Hana wrote. “All of his organs failed, but his heart wouldn’t stop beating.”
“For 30 minutes... his heart just kept beating,” she added. “No one had ever seen anything like it. A true testament to the strength of his Spirit and Will!”
I know him as THE GREATEST father. I love you so much, Dad. His spirit visited me last night. Thank you world for your love & support!!!— maryum ali (@maryum7) June 4, 2016
It was also confirmed that Ali’s funeral will be held on Friday at the KFC Yum! Center in the city where he was born, Louisville, Kentucky.
The funeral is scheduled to begin at 2 pm and will be open to the general public. The arena has a capacity of over 22,000 people.
Former US President Bill Clinton, actor and comedian Billy Crystal, and sports broadcaster Bryant Gumbel will all give eulogies at the funeral, which will be live streamed online and translated in real time.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer confirmed that the funeral will be followed by a private burial at Cave Hill Cemetery.
There will also be a funeral procession through some of the city’s streets, although it is unclear at this stage if this will take place before or after the funeral itself.