Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Ali remains hospitalised for 'serious' issues

Published:Saturday | June 4, 2016 | 6:00 AM
In this September 27, 2014, file photo, Muhammad Ali is shown before the Ali Humanitarian Awards ceremony in Louisville, Kentucky.

PHOENIX (AP):

Muhammad Ali is hospitalised in the Phoenix area with what two people familiar with his condition say may be more serious problems than his previous hospital stays.

The 74-year-old boxing great is fighting respiratory issues that are complicated by the Parkinson's that he was diagnosed with in the 1980s, the people told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The two spoke separately in describing Ali's condition that they say is concerning to family members. They declined to be identified because they were not speaking on behalf of the family.

A spokesman for Ali said in a statement earlier Thursday that the former heavyweight champion is being treated at an unidentified hospital for a respiratory issue. Spokesman Bob Gunnell said Ali was in fair condition, and a brief hospital stay was expected.

Gunnell said in an email Friday that there was no update on Ali's condition.

Ali's long-time Parkinson's doctor declined to comment when reached by the AP Thursday night.

"I can't really say much more than what's in the papers," said Dr Abraham Lieberman of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.

Ali has been hospitalised several times in recent years, most recently in early 2015 when he was treated for a severe urinary tract infection initially diagnosed as pneumonia.

APPEARING FRAIL

Ali has looked increasingly frail in public appearances, including April 9 when he wore sunglasses and was hunched over at the annual Celebrity Fight Night dinner in Phoenix, which raises funds for treatment of Parkinson's.

His last formal public appearance before that was in October when he appeared at the Sports Illustrated Tribute to Muhammad Ali at The Muhammad Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, along with former opponents George Foreman and Larry Holmes.

Ali has suffered from Parkinson's for three decades, most famously trembling badly while lighting the Olympic torch in 1996 in Atlanta. Despite the disease, he kept up a busy appearance schedule until recently, though he has not spoken in public for years.