Boxing legend Muhammad Ali died on Friday at the age of 74 after a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, and family, friends and fans were quick to take to social media with their memories of “The Champ.”
Particularly meaningful was a message shared by actor Michael J. Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991, just seven years after Ali learned he was battling the neurodegenerative disorder.
“Ali, the G-O-A-T,” Fox tweeted, alongside a picture of him with the three-time World Heavyweight Champion. “A giant, an inspiration, a man of peace, a warrior for the cure. Thank you.”
Ali, the G-O-A-T. A giant, an inspiration, a man of peace, a warrior for the cure. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/MCLyJhLC0X— Michael J. Fox (@realmikefox) June 4, 2016
The actor established The Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2000, which is “dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease (PD) through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensure the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson's today,” while Ali lent his name to The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona in 1997. The center is run by donations, with Celebrity Fight Night as it’s primary funding source.
“Thanks to Muhammad Ali, Celebrity Fight Night took a larger leap into the national spotlight when he became our featured guest,” said founder Jimmy Walker in a press release. “Muhammad has been so instrumental and such a champ not only in our eyes, but also as an icon to the world.”
“Nothing will ever replace the Champ. It’s been an honor to know him, work with him and see the lasting impact he has made on our community,” Walker added. “He truly is the Greatest.”
A funeral will be held for Ali at the KFC YUM! Center in the boxer’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, on June 10. There will also be a procession held throughout the city that same morning in order for mourners to pay their final respects, according to a statement from the family.
"The Ali family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support and asks for privacy at this time," family spokesperson Bob Gunnell shared following news of the boxer's death.