Muhammad Ali’s children paid tribute to their late father and legendary boxer on social media following his death on Friday, June 3.
As Us Weekly previously reported, the boxing champ died surrounded by family and friends at a hospital in Phoenix at age 74. He was hospitalized earlier in the week for respiratory issues following a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Ali was married four times — most recently to his wife of nearly 30 years, Yolonda Williams — and had seven daughters and two sons.
“Our hearts are literally hurting. But We are so happy daddy is free now,” daughter Hana Ali tweeted. “We all tried to stay strong and whispered in his ear, ‘You can go now. We will be okay. We love [you]. Thank you. You can go back to God now.’”
She continued, “All of us were around him hugging and kissing him and holding his hands, chanting the Islamic prayer. All of his organs failed but his HEART wouldn’t stop beating. For 30 minutes…his heart just keep beating. No one had ever seen anything like it. A true testament to the strength of his Spirit and Will! Thank you all for your love and support!!!”
Son Asaad Amin shared a throwback shot of his late dad in the boxing ring on Instagram. “Forever grateful for everything you have ever gave me,” he captioned the photo. “You’ve shown me how to love the world in ways I didn’t know possible. You’ve shown me how to be brave and courageous in situations beyond my belief! You’ve taught me so much the last 25 years things that will forever be imprinted in my soul. I’m able to sit here and [write] this post without falling apart because I honestly know you are in a greater place. And I’m happy you get to go home to grandma now I know she has missed you like crazy! No one will ever touch this earth the way you did. God has came down and took back one of his kinds! Rest easy Dad and continue to look over me sincerely. Your youngest.”
Daughter Rasheda Ali posted a touching pic of herself and the heavyweight champ on Twitter, writing, “The Greatest Man that ever lived. Daddy my best friend & my Hero You R no longer suffering & now in a better place.”
The Greatest Man that ever lived. Daddy my best friend & my Hero You R no longer suffering & now in a better place. pic.twitter.com/IASO4u3Ikn
— RASHEDA ALI™ (@rashedaali) June 4, 2016
Muhammad’s most well-known child Laila Ali, who followed in her father’s footsteps with a successful boxing career of her own, has yet to speak out on her dad’s death. Earlier in the week, she took to Facebook to thank fans for “all the love and well wishes. I feel your love and appreciate it!!”
Several celebrities and athletes also paid tribute to the great showman with heartfelt posts, including Mike Tyson, Madonna, Justin Bieber and Justin Timberlake.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama released a statement on Muhammad’s passing on Saturday, June 4.
“Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Period. If you just asked him, he’d tell you. He’d tell you he was the double greatest; that he’d ‘handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder into jail,’” the Obamas wrote. “But what made The Champ the greatest – what truly separated him from everyone else – is that everyone else would tell you pretty much the same thing. Like everyone else on the planet, Michelle and I mourn his passing. But we’re also grateful to God for how fortunate we are to have known him, if just for a while; for how fortunate we all are that The Greatest chose to grace our time.”
The first couple added, “Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it. We are all better for it. Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family, and we pray that the greatest fighter of them all finally rests in peace.”