Boxing legend Muhammad Ali dies at age 74

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Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has died at age 74 his family announced Friday night.

Earlier this week, Ali was hospitalized for treatment of a respiratory issue. At the time, his spokesperson said Ali was in fair condition and was expected to have a brief hospital stay.

However, Friday night sources told NBC News and the Los Angeles Times the boxing champ’s condition was “grave.”

Ali suffered from Parkinson’s disease and in recent years he largely stayed out of the limelight.

But he once was known not only for his athletic prowess as a boxer but also for his social activism.

Ali was born as Cassius Clay and in 1960 won an Olympic gold medal as a light-heavyweight. In 1964, he defeated Sonny Liston by KO in the seventh round and became the World Heavyweight Champion. It was also the year he converted and joined the Nation of Islam, changing his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali.

In April 1967, as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, Ali refused induction into the U.S. Army. The World Boxing Association then stripped him of his world title. On June 20, 1967, Ali was convicted in federal court of violating Selective Service laws and sentenced to five years in prison and fined $10,000. He stayed out of prison as his case was appealed.

In 1990, Ali met with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad to attempt to negotiate the release of Americans held hostage in Iraq and Kuwait. Additionally, in 2011, Ali publicly appealed to Iranian officials for the release of captive hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.

One of the most powerful images of Ali came in 1996, when he lit the torch at the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.

In 2005, Ali was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.

Timeline: Ali's Life & Career

1959 - Wins National Golden Gloves championship as a light heavyweight and qualifies for the U.S. Olympic team.

1960 - Wins Olympic gold and National Golden Gloves championship, both for light heavyweight. Returns from the Olympics and turns pro.

February 25, 1964 - Defeats Sonny Liston, by KO in the seventh round, for the title of World Heavyweight Champion.

1964 - Converts and joins the Nation of Islam, changes his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali.

May 25, 1965 - Rematch with Liston, wins again by KO in the first round.

April 28, 1967 - As a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, Ali refuses induction into the U.S. Army. The World Boxing Association strips him of his world title. New York and other states revoke his license to box.

June 20, 1967 - Is convicted in federal court of violating Selective Service laws, sentenced to five years in prison, and fined $10,000.

October 26, 1970 - Ali's first professional fight in more than three years, defeats Jerry Quarry, by KO in the third round.

March 8, 1971 - Known as the "Fight of the Century," Ali and Joe Frazier split a $5 million purse at Madison Square Garden for Frazier's title. After 15 rounds, it's Ali's first professional loss.

June 28, 1971 - The U.S. Supreme Court reverses Ali's Selective Service violation conviction in a unanimous ruling.

July 26, 1971 - Defeats Jimmy Ellis, by KO in the 12th round, for the NABF (North American Boxing Federation) heavyweight title.

September 20, 1972 - Defeats Floyd Patterson, by KO in the seventh round, retaining the NABF title.

March 31, 1973 - Loses NABF title to Ken Norton in the 12th round.

September 10, 1973 - Regains the NABF title in the 12th round of the rematch with Ken Norton.

January 23, 1974 - Brawls with Joe Frazier at the New York studio of ABC, both fined $5,000.

January 28, 1974 - Defeats Joe Frazier in 12 rounds and retains his NABF title.

October 30, 1974 - "The Rumble in the Jungle" takes place in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo). Ali defeats George Foreman, by KO in the eighth round, to again become the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion.

1975 - Leaves the Nation of Islam to practice the more mainstream Islamic faith.

October 1, 1975 - The "Thrilla in Manila," against Joe Frazier, is another victory when Frazier's manager, Eddie Futch, fearing for Frazier's safety, ends the match before the start of round 15.

February 15, 1978 - Loses his heavyweight title to Leon Spinks after 15 rounds and a split decision.

September 15, 1978 - Regains title from Leon Spinks with a unanimous decision after 15n rounds, becoming World Heavyweight Boxing Champion for the third time.

June 26, 1979 - Retires from professional boxing.

October 2, 1980 - Comes out of retirement for a guaranteed purse of $8 million, a chance for the World Boxing Council title and loses to Larry Holmes by KO in the 11th round. First signs of Parkinson's are seen in public.

December 11, 1981 - Loses to Trevor Berbick, after ten rounds and a unanimous decision; this is his last professional fight.

1984 - Reveals that he has Parkinson's syndrome, a disorder of the central nervous system.

November 27, 1990 - Meets with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, attempts to negotiate release of Americans held hostage in Iraq and Kuwait.

December 2, 1990 - Accompanies 15 freed U.S. hostages out of Iraq.

July 19, 1996 - Lights the torch at the opening ceremonies to the Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

February 4, 1999 - First boxer to appear on front of a Wheaties cereal box.

October 23, 2000 - Is appointed United Nations Messenger of Peace.

November 9, 2005 - Is presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.

November 21, 2005 - The Muhammad Ali Center opens in Louisville, Kentucky.

April 11, 2006 - Entertainment and licensing firm CKX announces that it is paying Ali $50 million in exchange for 80% of whatever it makes selling his name and likeness. Under the agreement, Ali has 20% control of the newly formed company G.O.A.T. LLC, which stands for "Greatest of All Time."

May 24, 2011 - Publicly appeals to Iranian officials for the release of captive hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.

October 2013 - The Muhammad Ali Center in Ali's hometown, Louisville, Kentucky, honors him with the "Three Days of Greatness." A weekend of film premieres on Ali's life: "Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight," "The Trials of Muhammad Ali" and the presentation of the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards.

December 20, 2014 - Is hospitalized with pneumonia.

February 18, 2015 - Under Armour announces it will launch a "lifestyle apparel" line bearing Ali's likeness. Photos of Ali will be used in marketing campaigns.

June 2, 2016 - A spokesman for the Ali family announces he is in the hospital for a respiratory issue, and that he is in fair condition.