The death of boxing legend
Muhammad Ali is a reminder about
the importance of being right with
God, the director of a Christian
sporting organisation has told
Director of Christians in Sport,
Graham Daniels, has been speaking
after the three-time heavyweight
world champion died in the US at the age of
A civil rights campaigner and poet who
converted to Islam, Ali was admitted to
hospital in Arizona on Thursday after suffering
from breathing problems.
“My reaction was ‘age catches up with all of us.
Life is very, very fragile and even the greatest
human being in sport or on the planet is not
immortal,” Graham said.
He added: “It has reminded me of mortality
and the importance of being right with the
Creator of the universe, through Jesus Christ. I
cannot escape thinking like that when I hear
of the death of someone like Muhammad Ali.”
Ali battled Parkinson’s disease for 32 years,
with doctors believing the condition was
probably caused by the thousands of punches
A funeral for the sporting icon, who was born
with the name Cassius Clay, will be held in his
home town of Louisville in Kentucky.
Prior to Thursday’s admission, Ali was last
taken to hospital in early 2015 to receive
treatment for a severe urinary tract infection.
Making his final appearing in public, Ali
seemed increasingly frail attending the annual
charity-fundraiser event ‘Celebrity Fight Night’
in Phoenix, when he wore sunglasses and
Reflecting on Ali’s legacy, Graham Daniels
went on to say: “I grew up with Ali as ‘king of
the world’ from the 1960s right through to the
early 1980s when he stopped boxing so he
was very formative in my experience of sport
as a young man.
“From the height of his career, he’ll be
remembered as a really funny guy and a
brilliant boxer but, at the same time, he was a
significant civil rights campaigner.”
In a statement, a spokesman said the Ali family
“would like to thank everyone for their
thoughts, prayers and support” and
Muhammed Ali’s friend and fellow boxer,
George Foreman, said: “Muhammad Ali was
one of the greatest human beings I have ever
met. No doubt he was one of the best people
to have lived in this day and age.”
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson
posted a message on Twitter which read: “God
came for his champion. So long great one.
@MuhammadAli #TheGreatest #RIP.”
Ali is survived by Lonnie, his fourth wife, and a
number of children.