The youngest daughter of boxing great Muhammad Ali has broken her silence on the death of her father, citing she has comfort in knowing he is no longer suffering.
“I personally have been sad for a long time. My father’s been struggling with Parkinson’s disease for many years, and it wasn’t easy to watch him suffer,” Laila Ali told NBC’s “Today” on June 6. “Knowing he’s not suffering anymore is what gives me comfort.”
She added: “It was time for him to go, and I know he’s in a better place now. And he’s talking again, and moving again, and doing all the things he couldn’t do in his body, and I’m happy for that, even though I will miss him deeply.”
Muhammad Ali was hospitalized in Phoenix on Thursday, June 2, for a respiratory issue and was soon surrounded by his family when doctors told the family the “end is near.” The former heavyweight champion of the world died at the at age of 74 on June 3. The man dubbed as “The Greatest” battled Parkinson’s disease for 32 years.
Laila Ali, who is also a talented boxer, described the final moments with her father.
“My sisters were saying Islamic prayers, so it was a very peaceful time, and we sent him off in a peaceful way,” Laila Ali said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Daughter Hana Ali tweeted about the last moments with her father.
“Our hearts are literally hurting. But We are so happy daddy is free now … All of his organs failed but his HEART wouldn’t stop beating. For 30 minutes…his heart just keep beating. No one had ever seen anything like it. A true testament to the strength of his Spirit and Will!”
A funeral for Ali is planned for Friday in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., where world leaders and sports elites are expected to attend.