Muhammad Ali Remembered By Paul McCartney, Cher, Madonna And More

Muhammad Ali, heavyweight boxing legend, died June 3 after a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, according to a family spokesman. News of his death, at age 74, is hitting hard because, not only was he among the greatest athletes of the 20th century, but he was one of the world’s most recognized celebrities. A 1978 comic book had him facing off against Superman in the ring.

Before that, though, Ali was actually signed to Columbia Records. In 1963 he released the spoken-word album I Am the Greatest!, where he (correctly) predicts that he will become the heavyweight champion of the world. Such braggadocio made him one of the world’s first rappers, before hip-hop was even a full-fledged genre. But Ali’s outspokenness during his athletic peak would also court controversy. He never shied away from owning his greatness, which was a bold stance for a black man during the Civil Rights Era. And he was stripped of his heavyweight title because of his refusal to be drafted in the Vietnam War, because of his religious beliefs as a Muslim and opposition to racist American attitudes and policies of the time.

It’s because of such principled behavior, along with his athleticism, that musician fans ranging from Paul McCartney to Cher, Madonna and Puff Daddy, are remembering Ali today as a hero and emblem of strength. See their tributes below.

G.O.A.T

A photo posted by kellyrowland (@kellyrowland) on

ALI BOMAYE 🙏🏽💔

A video posted by Nicki Minaj (@nickiminaj) on

😢🏆 RIP Ali

A photo posted by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

This is the ALI we should all remember! The fun loving man who was fully himself!! RIP CHAMP!!!

A photo posted by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on

Let us know your thoughts below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter.