Muhammad Ali, the former heavyweight boxing great, has reportedly lost the ability to speak due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Supermarket tabloid the National Enquirer, which should always be taken with a grain of salt, reported that Ali is having more severe health problems in recent months.
“His lips quivered, but no words came out,” an unnamed friend told the publication, via RadarOnline. “It was like he had been struck dumb.”
The friend added: “At times his lips would twitch as he stared straight ahead. At times his head went limp and just hung there. It was all so, so sad.”
However, his daughters said two weeks ago that his condition isn’t that bad.
“My uncle Rahman, who doesn’t see my father often and who is not well informed about Parkinson’s disease, misspoke about my father’s health,” daughter Maryum Ali told USA Today.
“He doesn’t mind the press talking about him dying,” she added. “Sometimes he looks at me and he’ll go, ‘I’m not dying.'”
Maryum told the paper that she calls him every morning and talks to him two to three times per week, adding that his overall health has been good.
“The last time I talked to my Dad, he was joking again about making a comeback,” said Hana Ali.
She added: “He said, ‘I’m going to take my title back for the fourth time.’ Whenever I hear him joking like that, it makes me feel good. He’s still in there.