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Tributes continue to pour in for Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali has died at the age of 74, at a Phoenix hospital in Arizona.

Former South African president Nelson Mandela, enjoying a moment with former boxing champion, Muhammad Ali. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - As the world mourns the passing of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, boxing promoter Don King has labelled him the greatest person to ever live, never compromising on his beliefs.

Ali died on Friday, at the age of 74, at a Phoenix hospital in Arizona.

The former heavyweight boxing champion was hospitalised this week for a respiratory ailment.





During his reign as the world's greatest, Ali won 56 fights and suffered only five defeats.

The boxing giant lived with Parkinson's for more than three decades and has kept a low profile in recent years.

King says Ali will be sorely missed. "The Muhammad Ali that burst on the scene is not the fellow who just left us. Muhammad Ali evolved, he was evolutionary being and I've known him for 50 years. He was a guy who didn't change his beliefs. He reaffirmed the ones that he found was strong and he matured greatly despite the boyish act."

At the same time, the Nelson Mandela Foundation says former president Nelson Mandela always hailed Ali as a hero, adding that he was a champion both in the boxing ring and for human rights.

The foundation says Madiba was a boxing enthusiast himself, and had great respect for Ali's legacy and continued to admire the great legend.

The foundation's Sello Hatang says Ali was not a heavyweight champion just for his 56 wins in the ring, but for his beliefs and fight for human rights outside the ring.

"Muhammad Ali was a great hero. Madiba once said that if there's one regret he has it was not being a heavyweight champion of the world. I think he saw that through Muhammad Ali, that at least one could be that."

Former boxing champion Floyd Mayweather has also paid tribute to the late Ali, describing him as a pioneer, true legend and hero.

He says there was no day that went by without him thinking about Ali as he entered his gym, adding that his charm, charisma and class will be missed by the world.

Mayweather says Ali inspired him throughout his boxing journey, thanking him for everything he had done for black America and the world of sport collectively.

Today my heart goes out to a pioneer, a true legend, and a hero by all means! Not a day went by entering the gym that I didn't think of you. Your charisma, your charm and above all, your class are all of the elements that will be greatly missed by myself and the world. You are someone that inspired me greatly throughout my boxing journey and words cannot express how great you were as a person! Thank you for everything you've done for Black America, in the the world of sports & entertainment and for the legacy you leave behind! My sincerest condolences to the Ali family!

A photo posted by Floyd Mayweather (@floydmayweather) on