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Former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali dead at age 74

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Muhammad Ali Reportedly on Life Support

Former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali has died, according to a family spokesperson cited by ABC and NBC.

Ali had been suffering respiratory issues this week and was hospitalized in Arizona, according to sources cited by Reuters.

"It's extraordinarily grave. It's a matter of hours," the source told the newswire service earlier Friday.

Ali, 74, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the 1980s. He was being treated for a respiratory problem that is complicated by the neurological disease, The Associated Press reported.

The news marked a significant apparent downturn for the former boxer. On Thursday, Ali's condition was described as "fair."

Muhammad Ali through the years:

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Muhammad Ali through the years
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Former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali dead at age 74
American boxer and sometime actor Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) as Eric Sevareid interviews him during an episode of the CBS Evening News, New York, March 24, 1964. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 2,1980: Muhammad Ali (L) throws a punch against Larry Holmes during the fight at Caesars Palace, on October 2,1980 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Larry Holmes won the WBC heavyweight title by a RTD 10. (Photo by: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images)
JUL 14 1981; Ali, Muhammad (Boxer) - Ind.; (Photo By Lyn Alweis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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Ali has been hospitalized several times over the years, most recently in early 2015. The Hollywood Reporter noted that he has looked "increasingly frail" in public appearances, "including April 9 when he wore sunglasses and was hunched over" during an event in Phoenix.

Ali's daughter, Laila, who was an undefeated boxer, is reportedly among Ali's nine children with him at the hospital in Arizona. She thanked fans for their support and posted a baby picture of her daughter, Sydney, who was born in 2011, being held by the boxing legend.

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