(FILES) This file photo taken on October 19, 1974 shows US boxing heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay) 11 days before the heavy weight world championship in Kinshasa. / AFP / STRINGER
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Former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, whose record-setting boxing career, flair for showmanship and political stands made him one of the best-known figures of the 20th century, died Friday aged 74 .Ali enjoyed a popularity that transcended the world of sports, even though he rarely appeared in public in his later years.Ali became much more than a colorful and interesting athlete. He spoke boldly against racism in the '60s, as well as the Vietnam War. During and after his championship reign, Ali met scores of world leaders and for a time he was considered the most recognizable person on earth, known even in remote villages far from the United States. Ali's diagnosis of Parkinson's came about three years after he retired from boxing in 1981 . He also dubbed Frazier a 'gorilla' but later apologized and said it was all to promote the fight.Once asked about his preferred legacy, Ali said: "I would like to be remembered as a man who won the heavyweight title three times, who was humorous and who treated everyone right.
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