Iranian Spokesman Calls Muhammad Ali ‘Pioneer’ of Black Rights Campaigns
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hussein Jaberi Ansari offered his deep condolences over the death of the heavyweight boxing legend Muhammad Ali, an icon of the 20th Century.
In a statement on Sunday, Jaberi Ansari said Muhammad Ali Clay was a well-known champion in boxing history, whose heroic and unique character had immortalized him.
“Muhammad Ali is considered as one of the pioneers (who fought for) racial equality and the restoration of the rights of blacks and the voice of conscience in the face of different discriminations exercised against men under the pretext of ethnicity and race,” the Iranian spokesman noted.
The beloved 74-year-old sports hero, who had been battling Parkinson's disease for decades, passed away on Friday in a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, where he had been admitted earlier this week suffering from respiratory problems.
Ali had been hospitalized multiple times in recent years.
His Parkinson's, thought to be linked to the thousands of punches he took during a brutal career studded by bruising battles inside the ropes, had limited his public speaking.
But he continued to make appearances and offer opinions through his family members and spokespeople.
In April, he attended a Celebrity Fight Night Dinner in Phoenix that raised funds for treatment of Parkinson's.
In December, he issued a statement rebuking US presidential hopeful Donald Trump's call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
"Muhammad Ali transformed this country and impacted the world with his spirit," said longtime boxing promoter Bob Arum. "His legacy will be part of our history for all time."
Boxing legend Muhammad Ali dies at 74
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