Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Muhammad Ali, 72, posts beaming selfie online as he cheers on Louisville Cardinals after dispelling rumors about his ill health

He recently denied rumors that he is close to death and can barely speak.
And Muhammad Ali appeared in good spirits on Saturday as he posted a beaming selfie online.
In the Instagram photo, the 72-year-old boxing great, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, was seen donning a red Louisville shirt to cheer on the Cardinals as they took on the Kentucky Wildcats.
Alongside the image, he wrote: '#Louisville Game Day! Go Cards!'
Football fan: In this selfie, posted to the social network site Instagram on Saturday, 72-year-old Muhammad Ali is pictured donning a red Louisville shirt to cheer on the Cardinals against the Kentucky Wildcats
Football fan: In this selfie, posted to the social network site Instagram on Saturday, 72-year-old Muhammad Ali is pictured donning a red Louisville shirt to cheer on the Cardinals against the Kentucky Wildcats
Excited: The boxing legend, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, wrote: '#Louisville Game Day! Go Cards!'
Excited: The boxing legend, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, wrote: '#Louisville Game Day! Go
Cards!'
Victorious: The former athlete is believed to have watched Louisville triumph over Kentucky 44-40 in the comfort of his own home. Above, the Cardinals are seen holding the Governor's Cup following their victory
Victorious: The former athlete is believed to have watched Louisville triumph over Kentucky 44-40 in the comfort of his own home. Above, the Cardinals are seen holding the Governor's Cup following their victory
Ali, a three-time world heavyweight champion, set up his Instagram profile just three weeks ago. He has so far posted nine photos and has gained more than 120,000 followers.
In addition, he has more than 405,000 followers on Twitter and nearly eight million on Facebook.
The former athlete is believed to have watched his side triumph over Kentucky 44-40 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in the comfort of his own Louisville home. The team is now bound for a bowl game.
In October, Ali's Parkinson's disease - from which he has suffered for 30 years - was said to have deteriorated so much that he could barely speak or leave the house.
The rumors grew after the star was deemed to ill the Hollywood premier of a film about his life. His condition had already meant he had not been able to take part in the production of the movie.
At the time, his brother Rahman, 71, who attended the screening of I Am Ali in Hollywood, told The Sunday People: ‘I have not been able to talk to my brother about this because he is sick.
Couple: Ali, a three-time world heavyweight champion, set up his Instagram profile just three weeks ago. Above, the retired boxer is pictured on a golf cart with his wife, Lonnie, before a Cardinals game in 2013
Couple: Ali, a three-time world heavyweight champion, set up his Instagram profile just three weeks ago. Above, the retired boxer is pictured on a golf cart with his wife, Lonnie, before a Cardinals game in 2013
Three-time champion: Ali (right) is pictured looking at his opponent, Chuck Wepner, after knocking him against the ropes in the fifteenth round of their championship match in Richfield, Ohio, in 1975
Three-time champion: Ali (right) is pictured looking at his opponent, Chuck Wepner, after knocking him against the ropes in the fifteenth round of their championship match in Richfield, Ohio, in 1975
Frail: In October, Ali's Parkinson's disease was said to have deteriorated so much that he could barely speak. Above, Ali is pictured looking frail and thin at the 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremonyFrail: In October, Ali's Parkinson's disease was said to have deteriorated so much that he could barely speak. Above, Ali is pictured looking frail and thin at the 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremony
Frail: In October, Ali's Parkinson's disease was said to have deteriorated so much that he could barely speak. Above, Ali is pictured looking frail and thin at the 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremony
‘He doesn’t speak too well. But he is proud that we are here for him. He has given this film his blessing.’
But several days later, Ali took to Twitter to dispel the rumors, posting a selfie of himself smiling alongside two women at the Boar's Head is a 573-acre country estate in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Alongside the image, he wrote: 'Don't believe the hype. Feeling great earlier today at @BoarsHeadResort. #AliSelfie.'
His daughter, Hana, 38, and half-sister Maryum, 46, also spoke out to deny rumours the star was unable to speak, bedridden and close to death. They simply said he was 'doing fine'.
Ali, then fighting under his birth name Cassius Clay, won his first heavyweight world title in 1964 as a 7-1 underdog when he defeated Sonny Liston. 
Denial: As rumors of his ill health spread, Ali took to Twitter to dispel them, posting this selfie of himself smiling alongside two women at the Boar's Head is a 573-acre country estate in Charlottesville, Virginia
Denial: As rumors of his ill health spread, Ali took to Twitter to dispel them, posting this selfie of himself smiling alongside two women at the Boar's Head is a 573-acre country estate in Charlottesville, Virginia
Feeling good: He wrote: 'Don't believe the hype. Feeling great earlier today at @BoarsHeadResort. #AliSelfie'
Feeling good: He wrote: 'Don't believe the hype. Feeling great earlier today at @BoarsHeadResort. #AliSelfie'
His famous line that he would 'float like a butterfly, sting like a bee' came in the build-up to that fight, after which he declared himself 'The Greatest'.
He held the belt until 1967, by which time he had converted to Islam and named himself Muhammad Ali, when he was stripped of the title for refusing to fight in Vietnam.
He made a comeback and in 1974 knocked out George Foreman in the eight round of the Rumble in the Jungle to become world champion for the second time.
These rumors pop up every once in a while but there's nothing to them
May May Ali, daughter
He held the title for four years before unexpectedly losing to Leon Spinks in 1978, but defeated him in Las Vegas months later.
Nicknamed the Louisville Lip for his wit, Ali remained active for several years after his diagnosis and made a moving appearance at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games where he lit the flame.
However, the sporting icon, who retired from boxing after suffering several strokes, was seen looking particularly thin and frail at the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony.
Donning a white suit and trainers, he was helped across the stage by wife Lonnie.
In February 2013, Ali's brother Rahman said the former boxer was so crippled by the degenerative brain condition that has afflicted many ex-boxers, he might not survive until the summer.
Success: Ali, then fighting under his birth name Cassius Clay, won his first heavyweight world title in 1964 as a 7-1 underdog when he defeated Sonny Liston. Above, Ali/Clay shouts defiantly at ringside critics 
Success: Ali, then fighting under his birth name Cassius Clay, won his first heavyweight world title in 1964 as a 7-1 underdog when he defeated Sonny Liston. Above, Ali/Clay shouts defiantly at ringside critics 
Powerful: Ali, still known as Clay, punches Doug Jones, at Madison Square Garden in New York in 1963
Powerful: Ali, still known as Clay, punches Doug Jones, at Madison Square Garden in New York in 1963
He also claimed the family had been barred from seeing Ali, who is estimated to be worth more than £50million, and could only speak to him on the phone.
Mr Rahman said his brother was ‘a prisoner in his own home’ and he is being gravely mistreated by his wife because ‘she is more interested in Ali's money than his well-being’.
However, Ali’s daughter May May said she had spoken to her father that morning and he was fine, watching the Super Bowl at home in Arizona wearing a Baltimore Ravens jersey.
'He's fine, in fact he was talking well this morning,' she said in a telephone interview with CBS at the time. 'These rumors pop up every once in a while but there's nothing to them.'
Supportive: Ali's daughter, Hana (pictured, left, with Ali and her sister Laila), 38, spoke out to deny rumours the star was unable to speak, bedridden and close to death. She simply said he was 'doing fine'
Supportive: Ali's daughter, Hana (pictured, left, with Ali and her sister Laila), 38, spoke out to deny rumours the star was unable to speak, bedridden and close to death. She simply said he was 'doing fine'
Disease-stricken: In January, Ali's son, Ali Jnr, said there is ‘no chance’ his father - pictured onstage during the Norman Mailer Center 4th Annual Benefit Gala in New York on October 4 - can survive another year
Disease-stricken: In January, Ali's son, Ali Jnr, said there is ‘no chance’ his father - pictured onstage during the Norman Mailer Center 4th Annual Benefit Gala in New York on October 4 - can survive another year
In January, Ali's son, Ali Jnr, said there is ‘no chance’ his father can survive another year.
'I just want, hope and pray to God that this awful disease takes my dad sooner rather than later. Take him away from all the suffering he’s in,' he said.
I Am Ali, directed by Clare Lewins, was released in US cinemas in early October.
It is currently available for viewing at UK cinemas.   
  

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