Muhammad Ali’s daughter denied that her father was near death on Sunday evening and said that he enjoyed watching the Superbowl from his Arizona home.
She talked to her father on the phone. TheJournal.ie reported she said, “He’s fine, in fact he was talking well this morning. These rumors pop up every once in a while, but there’s nothing to them.”
Family spokesman Bob Gunnell told the Louisville Courier Journal, “He looks great. He’s having a Super Bowl party.” The family later tweeted a photo of Ali watching the game and wearing a Baltimore Ravens player Ray Lewis jersey.
The rumor of Ali’s bad health started when the British press quoted Ali’s brother Rahman who said that Ali was near death. According to Sporting News, Rahman told British newspaper The Sun, “He told me before he got really bad that he’s in no pain. He grabbed my arm and whispered ‘Rah, I’ve achieved everything I’ve ever wanted to accomplish. Don’t cry for me, I’m in no pain.’ It’s best he goes now. The longer he goes on, so does his suffering and misery.”
Although Rahman said he had not seen his brother since last summer and was not in contact with the family, the rumor quickly spread. People expressed their condolences on Facebook and Twitter.
Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky and became a heavyweight champion in 1964. Ali, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, celebrated his 71st birthday last month.