WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama says Muhammad Ali “shook up the world and the world is better for it.”
Obama says he keeps a pair of Ali’s gloves on display in his private study, just off the Oval Office and under the famous photograph of the young champion “roaring like a lion over fallen Sonny Liston.”
Obama says in a statement that Ali “fought for what was right,” stood with Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela “when it was hard” and “spoke out when others wouldn’t.”
Obama says even as Ali’s physical powers were in decline, the boxing great “became an even more powerful force for peace and reconciliation around the world.”
The president says Parkinson’s disease may have “ravaged” Ali’s body, but it “couldn’t take the spark from his eyes.”
Bill Clinton paid an emotional tribute to Mohammed Ali on social media. The 42nd U.S. president tweeted: “Goodbye my friend. You were Great in so many ways.”
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson also took to social media. “God came for his champion. So long great one,” Tyson said in a tweet.
Madonna tweeted: “This Man. This King. This Hero. This Human! Words cannot express. He shook up the World! God Bless Him.”