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NPF Celebrates the Life and the Legend of Muhammad Ali

MIAMI — Today we mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Muhammad Ali, a longtime friend of the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF). Mr. Ali passed away at age 74 after being hospitalized for respiratory problems, a common complication in advanced Parkinson’s disease.

“While Muhammad Ali is best known as one of the greatest athletes of our time, we will always remember him as one of the strongest fighters in the Parkinson’s community,” said Michael S. Okun, MD, National Medical Director of the National Parkinson Foundation. “The world owes him a great debt for raising awareness of the disease. He worked tirelessly to inspire people to better and more meaningful lives. Ali brought the critically needed international attention to Parkinson’s disease and this awareness served as the catalyst for advances in education, care and research. He lived as an example of a man who was not for a single day of his life defined by his disease.”

Mr. Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984 and quickly became the face of the disease, elevating Parkinson’s awareness around the world. After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, he remained active for several decades, notably lighting the Olympic torch in 1996 in Atlanta, and raising money for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, an NPF Center of Excellence in Phoenix, Arizona. He inspired a generation of doctors, researchers, patients and family members to reach for more. His commitment to living the best life possible with Parkinson’s disease has been inspirational to the over one million Americans living with the disease.

Anyone with questions about Parkinson’s disease or complications from advanced Parkinson’s disease is encouraged to call NPF’s free Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636).

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Statement from the Parkinson's Foundation Medical Director, Michael Okun, MD

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