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Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay, who was perhaps the greatest boxer in history, not to mention being one of the most controversial and most-loved athletes of his time, passed away Friday at age 74.

Ali had battled Parkinson's disease since 1984, and he died from septic shock after being diagnosed with a respiratory illness.

Two suggestions.

First, check out David Remnick's piece about Ali in The New Yorker, in which he writes that Ali "became arguably the most famous person on the planet, known as a supreme athlete, an uncanny blend of power, improvisation, and velocity; a master of rhyming prediction and derision; an exemplar and symbol of racial pride; a fighter, a draft resister, an acolyte, a preacher, a separatist, an integrationist, a comedian, an actor, a dancer, a butterfly, a bee, a figure of immense courage." You can read it here.

Then, buy or download a copy of Remnick's excellent biography of Ali, "King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero," which is one of the best books of its kind that I've ever read. You can find it here, as well, I'm sure, in many local independent bookstores.
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