Muhammad Ali – once famed for his lightning speed and even faster tongue, is now so ill he can hardly speak, his brother has revealed.
The boxing legend, who has been battling debilitating Parkinson’s disease for years, has become increasingly frail and is now largely housebound.
And fresh health fears were sparked after he was too ill to attend the premiere of a new movie about his life last week and could not take part in any of the filming.
Speaking at the screening of ‘I Am Ali in Hollywood’, his brother Rahman, 71, told The Sunday People “I have not been able to talk to my brother about this because he is sick, he doesn’t speak too well. But he is proud that we are here for him. He has given this film his blessing.”
The film focuses on the family life of the charismatic three-time world heavyweight champion nicknamed the Louisville Lip for his infamous wit.
Using Ali’s “audio journals” it presents an intimate portrait of the sporting icon also using interviews with his family and anecdotes from boxers such as Mike Tyson and George Foreman.
His daughter Maryum, 46, was also at the screening. She said of her famous dad: “He has not seen the film yet, but I am very excited for him to see it, he is going to love it. I know he is. He is going to cry, he is going to laugh. He will be very proud.”
Director Clare Lewins says Ali’s daughter Hana, 38, plans to show the movie to her father – also known for his pre-fight poems including “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” – later this month at his Arizona home.
‘I Am Ali’ hits United Kingdom cinemas on 28 November.