• Boxing

Boxing great Ali taken to hospital with pneumonia

ESPN staff
December 21, 2014
Muhammad Ali has reduced his public appearances in recent years © Getty Images
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Former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali has been taken to hospital with a mild case of pneumonia, a spokesman for the boxing great has confirmed.

Ali, who is battling Parkinson's disease, is being treated by his team of doctors and is in stable condition after the pneumonia was caught early. His spokesman, Bob Gunnell, said the illness should only result in a short hospital stay.

"He was admitted earlier this morning and because the pneumonia was caught early, his prognosis is good with a short hospital stay expected," Gunnell said in a statement.

Gunnell declined to say where Ali, 72, is in hospital. No other details are being released due to the Ali family's request for privacy, he said.

Ali's public appearances have diminished in recent years as he continues to battle Parkinson's disease, but he still enjoys getting out to watch sport and visit friends.

Ali appeared in public in September at a ceremony in his hometown of Louisville for the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards. Ali did not speak to the crowd but posed for photos with award winners, including former NFL great Jim Brown and NBA great Bill Russell.

Brown leaned over and whispered to the seated Ali during the photo session. Later, Brown said he told Ali: "You're the greatest of all time".

Ali retired from boxing in 1981 and devoted himself to social causes. He traveled the world on humanitarian missions, mingling with the masses and rubbing elbows with world leaders.

The Muhammad Ali Center, in Louisville, is dedicated to Ali's humanitarian causes and showcases his boxing career.

Ali and his wife, Lonnie, have homes in Paradise Valley, Arizona; Berrien Springs, Michigan; and in Louisville.

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