Ali family quash death rumours
The family of boxing legend Muhammad Ali has posted a picture of him enjoying the Super Bowl, amid claims he was close to death.
Ali’s brother, Rahman Ali, was quoted in British media as saying the sporting icon, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, could be dead within days.
But Ali’s daughter May May told the Associated Press she had spoken to her father on the phone yesterday morning and he was fine.
“He’s fine, in fact he was talking well this morning,” she said.
Ali’s family said Ali was in good spirits and tweeted a picture of him enjoying the Super Bowl in a Baltimore Ravens jersey.
Ali ‘looks great’
Family spokesman Bob Gunnell disputed the UK media reports and said Ali “looks great”.
“He’s having a Super Bowl party,” Gunnell said.
The tweeted picture shows Ali with fists raised along with the words: “The Greatest is ready for the Super Bowl! Go Ravens!”.
Rahman Ali had told The Sun his 71-year-old brother could not speak and no longer recognised him.
“He’s in a bad way. He’s very sick,” Rahman Ali said.
“It could be months, it could be days. I don’t know if he’ll last the summer. He’s in God’s hands.”
Former heavyweight boxing champion Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1984.
He was seen looking particularly thin and frail at the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony where he was helped across the stage by Lonnie, his wife of 26 years.
Rahman Ali has accused Lonnie of tearing the family apart and not allowing him to visit his ailing brother.
The brothers, born Cassius and Rudolph Clay, grew up together in Louisville, Kentucky.
Cassius Clay, as Ali was known then, won gold at the 1960 Olympics and after turning professional went on to become a three-times world heavyweight champion.
After defeating Liston, Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali and announced his conversion to the Muslim faith.
The father-of-nine had several famous fights during his career, including 1974’s “Rumble in the Jungle” with George Foreman and the “Thrilla in Manila” against Joe Frazier the following year. (AP)