Boxing legend Muhammad Ali was hospitalized in Phoenix on Thursday, June 2, for a respiratory issue, according to family spokesman Bob Gunnell.
“He is being treated by his team of doctors and is in fair condition,” Gunnell said in a statement. “A brief hospital stay is expected. At this time, the Muhammad Ali family respectfully requests privacy.”
Muhammad Ali boasts a professional record of 56 wins—37 knockouts—and 5 losses. He won the Light Heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and is a three-time heavyweight champion. Ali is widely considered as one of the greatest boxers of all time, with the Associated Press voting him the No. 1 heavyweight of the 20th century in 1999.
Ali retired from the ring in 1981 and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three years post-retirement in 1984.
According to NIH, “Parkinson’s disease (PD) belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders, which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The four primary symptoms of PD are tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and postural instability, or impaired balance and coordination.”
Repeated punches to the head increases a fighter’s risk of Parkinson’s disease. The Mayo Clinic have found that “individuals who have suffered head injury are four times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who have never suffered head trauma.”
There is currently no cure for the disease.
In recent years, Ali’s health has continued to deteriorate. He was hospitalized in 2014 with a mild case of pneumonia.
“He went into the hospital this morning,” Gunnell said in a phone interview with the Associated Press at the time. “He has a mild case of pneumonia and the prognosis is good.” Ali was hospitalized again the following year when he was treated for a severe case of urinary tract infection.