“I’ve been everywhere in the world, seen everything, had everything a man can have.”
2016 has been a cruel year for modern-day heroes.
The loss of David Bowie was a sad blow, as was Alan Rickman’s untimely passing. It was only a few months back that we lost Prince—and now, Muhammad Ali has also left this earth after respiratory complications landed him in hospital.
Arguably the world’s most famous boxer, Ali made his mark outside of the ring when he vehemently opposed the Vietnam War and refused to join citing religious reasons. At a time when he was at the peak of his career, it was a move that cost him his heavyweight belt.
While the legend of his boxing prowess will live on for eternity, it is his philanthropic practices, humanitarianism and social activism that I will always admire most. The very act of refusing to be drafted into the Vietnam War inspired the growth of the anti-war movement through the 1960s.
After retiring from boxing in 1981 with 37 knockouts under his belt and a world of respect and admiration, Ali continued to stand for those causes he believed in. In his appointed role of United Nations Messenger of Peace, Ali travelled the world hand-delivering medical supplies and food supplies to communities that were both poor and devastated by war.
His own battle with Parkinson’s Disease lasted 30 years and did not stop him from continuing his activism.
He was a man with courage and unswayable beliefs. A man who was truly committed to being of service in this world.
He will be remembered as a legend who stood for more than just the sport he dominated—he will be cherished as a man with heart who made a real difference to humanity as a collective.
Author/Editor: Sarah Kolkka