Muhammad Ali spent final hours laughing with family
Muhammad Ali spent the final hours of his life "laughing, crying" and being smothered in kisses by his family.
The legendary boxer tragically passed away on June 3 aged 74 following a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease but the run up to his death was just as "magnificent" as his remarkable career as his nine children Rasheda, Jamilla, Laila, Asaad, Hana, Maryum, Khaliah, Muhammad Jr. and Miya surrounded his bedside and watched him go.
Speaking of her father’s final moments, Rasheda said: "We were all kissing him. I was on one cheek and Jamillah was on the other cheek. We all took turns just telling stories, laughing, crying. It was a beautiful moment. Those final moments were just the most magnificent."
Although the family are devastated the iconic sportsman has lost his battle with the crippling condition, they can breathe a sigh of relief knowing he’s no longer in pain.
Jamillia explained: "The only way for us to feel OK with getting through the next day, the next week, the next month, is knowing that he’s not suffering anymore. He’s not in pain anymore, and he’s happy, and he’s in paradise."
The three-time heavyweight champion set up the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, Arizona, which provides comprehensive care for those living with the condition, in 1997 and his children have promised him they will continue to raise awareness of the disease.
Speaking to ‘Entertainment Tonight’, Rasheda said: "I promised my dad on the day he died, ‘We will carry on your legacy for loving and giving.’ That’s what’s important to us right now. His charity, his conviction, his confidence, his dedication, respect, most of all his spirituality — those values are why he created the Muhammad Ali Center. Hopefully in the near future, we’ll all take part in helping him take those values to the next generation."
Following his tragic death last week, Ali’s family have decided to hold a public funeral for him on Friday (06.10.16) and will allow the ceremony to be live streamed from the KFC Yum! Centre in Louisville, Kentucky.
He will then be buried in an idyllic plot in an exclusive area of Cave Hill Cemetery in his birth town of Kentucky.
A worker at the graveyard told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "The family chose this spot. It is such a peaceful place where his family can lay him to rest."
A temporary tent has been set up over the site while work is carried out on his grave and his headstone is currently being engraved with a quote from Martin Luther King.
He reportedly told his family ahead of his death that he wants the rock to read: "I tried to love somebody. I did try to feed the hungry. I did try, in my life, to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity."