Muhammad Ali may have 'days' to live, says brother
Muhammad Ali attends the US Olympic Committee Benefit Gala (Reuters, 2012)
By 3 News online staff
Family of ailing boxing icon Muhammad Ali - once nicknamed 'The Greatest' - have slammed reports he has just days to live.
In an interview with Britain's The Sun newspaper at the weekend, Ali's brother Rahman claimed the 71-year-old was in "terminal decline" after a long-fought battle with Parkinson's disease.
He told The Sun: "My brother can't speak - he doesn't recognise me. He's in a bad way. He's very sick".
"It could be months, it could be days. I don't know if he'll last the summer. He's in God's hands. We hope he gently passes away."
In an effort to lay to rest the rumours, members of Ali's wider family posted a photo on Twitter today of the former boxer preparing to watch Super Bowl 13.
The photo, captioned "The Greatest is ready for the Super Bowl!" shows Ali wearing a Ravens jersey.
A spokesperson for Ali told The Courier-Journal he is "doing fine" despite Rahman's claims.
Rahman told The Sun his brother will be remembered as a great man the world over.
“I love my brother over anybody. Of all the famous people who ever lived, he’s the best. Everyone knows Muhammad Ali. He’s up there with Jesus Christ.
“He’s going to heaven, there’s no doubt. If his funeral was tomorrow, all the statesmen of the world would turn up. He touched everyone from the rich to the poor."
The man christened Cassius Clay was known for his fast lip and faster fists, winning his first world title bout against Sonny Liston nearly half a century ago.
But it was his refusal to fight in Vietnam that would shake up the world and ensure his legend transcended sport.
“How the hell did he know at six that he was going to do all this? Only him and the Holy Spirit knows. He may be dying, but he’ll live on,” Rahman told the paper.
“You know the word ‘infinite’? That’s Ali, he’s infinite. His name will last forever.”