Muhammad Ali, the magnificent heavyweight champion whose fast fists and irrepressible personality transcended sports and captivated the world, has died according to a statement released by his family. He was 74.
A family spokesman says Muhammad Ali died of septic shock "due to unspecified natural causes." Ali died Friday at 9:10 p.m. and spent the last hour of his life surrounded by his family. He was initially hospitalized in the Phoenix area on Monday.
Ali's funeral is scheduled for Friday at 2 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. There will be eulogies given by Billy Crystal, Bryant Gumbel, and former President Bill Clinton.
The spokesman says Ali was a citizen of the world and he wanted people of all walks of life to be able to attend. The funeral will be translated and streamed on the internet.
Ali suffered for years from Parkinson's disease, which ravaged his body but could never dim his larger-than-life presence. He was hospitalized earlier this week. A towering figure in his prime, he still traveled and made appearances in his later years despite being muted by the thousands of punches he took during his remarkable career. He beat the invincible Sonny Liston, fought a string of thrilling fights with Joe Frazier and stopped George Foreman in the "Rumble in the Jungle" in Zaire.