Muhammad Ali is in the hospital and being treated for a respiratory problem, the family of the heavyweight boxing great revealed on Thursday.
"Ali, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, is being treated by his team of doctors and is in fair condition. A brief hospital stay is expected," family spokesman Bob Gunnell said in a written statement.
It is Ali's second health scare requiring hospitalization this year, following a January stay for treatment of a severe urinary tract infection initially thought to be pneumonia, NBC News reports.
The 74-year-old ring legend — who playfully called himself "The Greatest" and boasted he "floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee" in his fights — was last seen in public two months ago.
It was then that he attended Celebrity Fight Night in Phoenix, Arizona, which raised money for several charities including the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.
Ali, whose debilitating illness believed to have been caused by years of intense poundings he took from such opponents as Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier and George Foreman, doesn't get out much these days and is sometimes confined to a wheelchair.
But he recently stirred the waters
by weighing in on this year's presidential election — spanking Donald Trump for his suggestion to ban all Muslims from entering the United States.
Ali — who changed his name from Cassius Clay when he joined the Nation of Islam in 1964 — said in a statement:
"Speaking as someone who has never been accused of political correctness, I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people's views on what Islam really is."
During his career, the 6-foot, 3-inch tall fighter from Louisville, Kentucky, accumulated a boxing record of 61 fights of which he won 56. Of those, 37 were knockout victories.
In 1977, Ali played himself in the PG-rated Hollywood biopic "The Greatest," in which he co-starred with Ernest Borgnine, James Earl Jones and Robert Duvall.
Ali's daughter Laila recently told People magazine:
"That man continues to put me in awe. He's such a fighter, still, when at times he seems weak and not able to handle it. He comes through stronger than ever. He's still fighting regardless and I love my dad for that."
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