Muhammad Ali kept fighting til the very end.
The American icon, who passed away on Friday, June 3, after battling Parkinson's disease for more than three decades, ultimately died of septic shock "due to unspecified natural causes," a family spokesman confirms. What's amazing, however, is that according to his loved ones, his heart kept beating for a full thirty minutes after his organs failed. A perfect metaphor for a legend who always refused to give up on himself.
More details are emerging about Ali's final days, particularly from his wife Lonnie and his daughter Hana. Lonnie's Twitter feed contains a series of pictures of the Champ over the past few months of his life, in Phoenix, Arizona, where he is seen alternately frail and weak-looking, and as spirited as we remember him:
His daughter Hana Ali also paid tribute to her father a short time after his passing, sharing details of his last hours and a touching message. According to Hana, Ali's family helped usher him into the next world by chanting an Islamic prayer as he took his final breaths.
Our father was a "Humble Mountain!" And now he has gone home to God. God bless you daddy. YOU ARE THE LOVE OF MY LIFE!— Hana Ali (@Hanayali) June 4, 2016
Family spokesman Bob Gunnell said the family is planning to hold a private funeral on Thursday for the icon, and that a public funeral will be held on Friday in Louisville, Kentucky. Former President Bill Clinton, Bryant Gumbel and Billy Crystal will be giving eulogies, according to the last wishes of the Champ.
Gunnel also revealed that the three-time world heavyweight champion fighter did not suffer at the time of his death and said that he wanted people of all walks of life to be able to attend his funeral because he was a citizen of the world.
Watch the original documentary Ali: The People's Champ on BET this Sunday, June 5, at noon.
(Photo: Stephen Cohen/Getty Images for Muhammad Ali Center)
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