UPDATE: The life and legacy of Muhammad Ali - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: The life and legacy of Muhammad Ali

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UPDATE: Muhammad Ali died Friday at a Phoenix-area hospital, where he had spent the past few days being treated for respiratory complications, a family spokesman confirmed to NBC News. He was 74.

"After a 32-year battle with Parkinson's disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening," Bob Gunnell, a family spokesman, told NBC News.

Ali had suffered for three decades from Parkinson's, a progressive neurological condition that slowly robbed him of both his verbal grace and his physical dexterity. A funeral service is planned in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

His daughter Rasheda said early Saturday that the legend was "no longer suffering," describing him as "daddy, my best friend and hero" as well as "the greatest man that ever lived."

In recent years, Ali's health began to suffer dramatically. There was a death scare in 2013, and last year he was rushed to the hospital after being found unresponsive. He recovered and returned to his new home in Arizona.

In his final years, Ali was barely able to speak. Asked to share his personal philosophy with NPR in 2009, Ali let his wife read his essay:

"I never thought of the possibility of failing, only of the fame and glory I was going to get when I won," Ali wrote. "I could see it. I could almost feel it. When I proclaimed that I was the greatest of all time, I believed in myself, and I still do."

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The great one, Muhammad Ali, has died at the age of 74.  The boxing legend, who has Parkinson's, was hospitalized Thursday near Phoenix with an apparent respiratory issue.

His family was gathering at his bedside Friday night hoping he would pull through, but ultimately did not.  Ali, a winner of 56 of his 61 career fights, 37 of those coming by knockout.

He was also a gold medal winner in the 1960 Olympics in Rome.  He later won the world Heavyweight Championship over Sonny Liston in a stunning upset in 1964.

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