The life and legacy of Muhammad Ali

(Associated Press) - Former presidents, heads of nations, movie stars and sports legends will pay tribute to Muhammad Ali at a memorial Friday.

A traditional Muslim funeral for the boxing great will be held Thursday.

Ali died last Friday in Arizona at age 74 following a long battle with Parkinson's disease

Ali was hospitalized in the Phoenix area with respiratory problems earlier in the week, and his children had flown in from around the country.

Leila Alil said during a televised interview Monday that her father was "not suffering anymore."

When asked whether he had grown weary of fighting the condition, Ali said death was one of the things her father feared and "he definitely wouldn't want to just move on."

Ali says she'll remember him as "a loving father," who "always puts children first." She says she told her own children about their grandfather's death Monday morning.

With a wit as sharp as the punches he used to "whup" opponents, Muhammad Ali dominated sports for two decades before time and Parkinson's disease, triggered by thousands of blows to the head, ravaged his magnificent body, muted his majestic voice and ended his storied career in 1981.

He won and defended the heavyweight championship in epic fights in exotic locations, spoke loudly on behalf of blacks, and famously refused to be drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War because of his Muslim beliefs.

"I am the greatest," Ali thundered again and again. Few would disagree.

With the Associated Press