Muhammad Ali’s cause of death announced–and daughter reveals his ‘heart wouldn’t stop beating’

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Legendary heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali died Friday at an Arizona hospital, holding on to life for five days until family members could gather at his bedside to give their final farewells.

“It was a solemn moment,” family spokesman Bob Gunnell told reporters in Phoenix, according to NBC News.

The 74-year-old sports icon, who has been battling Parkinson’s disease for 32 years, was admitted Monday with respiratory problems, but his condition gradually worsened and the champ died of septic shock.

Daughter Hana Ali revealed that his heart was the last to go, holding on for 30 minutes after all his other organs had failed.

She tweeted:

Ali will be laid to rest Friday in Louisville, Kentucky, the city of his birth and where he learned to box.

Former President Bill Clinton, comedian Billy Crystal and journalist Bryant Gumbel will deliver eulogies during the day-long event that will include a procession through the city streets.

The city lowered its flags to half-mast Saturday, and residents created an impromptu memorial outside the Muhammad Ali Center with letters of tribute and flowers.

Clip via NBC News.

“The ‘Louisville Lip’ spoke to everyone,” Mayor Greg Fischer said at Louisville Metro Hall, referring to the nickname the press gave Ali. “But we heard him in a way no one else could, as our brother, our uncle and our inspiration.”

He then imagined Ali’s birth 74 years ago in a Louisville hospital.

“Imagine that day, that little boy, eyes wide open, looking around the room at the old Louisville General Hospital, not knowing the life that awaited him, the life he would make, the world he would shake up, and the people he would inspire,” Fischer said. “And like you, I am absolutely one of those people.”

The mayor added: “Muhammad Ali belongs to the world, but he only has one hometown.”

But Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., was more than just a boxer, the mayor said. NBC reported:

To accentuate that point, Fischer pointed out some of the many honors and titles Ali accrued in his post-boxing career: Amnesty International lifetime achievement award, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Century, and co-founder, with his wife, Lonnie, of the Muhammad Ali Center, created to “promote respect, hope and understanding in Louisville and around the world.”

 

Hana Ali tweeted her final farewell:

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Clip via NBC News.

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