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.
“Dear Muhammad Ali. I loved that man. He was great from the first day we met him in Miami, and on the numerous occasions when I ran into him over the years. Besides being the greatest boxer, he was a beautiful, gentle man with a great sense of humour who would often pull a pack of cards out of his pocket, no matter how posh the occasion, and do a card trick for you. The world has lost a truly great man. Love Paul” #PaulMcCartney #MuhammadAli #CassiusClay
Didn’t know Muhammad was deadAt T.Hearns/Sugar Ray
Fight in Vegas he explained boxing 2me.I Yelled,He Said Ooo-Wee Cher u got a mouth on u
— Cher (@cher) June 4, 2016
Ran out of room,got caught up in memories.it was so much fun to be in ring with him.Son was like a kid pic.twitter.com/MtJERqpOJ4
— Cher (@cher) June 4, 2016
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— Lionel Richie (@LionelRichie) June 4, 2016
The King and The Prince. https://t.co/CWvNwlg5UW
— Kimya Dawson (@mrskimyadawson) June 4, 2016
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— Snoop Dogg (@SnoopDogg) June 4, 2016
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— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) June 4, 2016
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