How the Stars and Ali Himself Are Memorializing Muhammad Ali

How the Stars and Ali Himself Are Memorializing Muhammad Ali
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Ali with Will Smith at the Mayweather-Mosley fight in Las Vegas on May 1, 2010

Befitting a man whose life and career have inspired and influenced so many, Muhammad Ali has been remembered by countless celebrities and fellow athletes, honored as a hero, a trailblazer, and "the greatest" in his field.

Ali himself wrote in 2013's "The Soul of a Butterfly: Reflections on Life's Journey" of how he would like to be remembered:

"I would like to be remembered as a man who won the heavyweight title three times, who was humorous, and who treated everyone right. As a man who never looked down on those who looked up to him, and who helped as many people as he could. As a man who stood up for his beliefs no matter what. As a man who tried to unite all humankind through faith and love. And if all that's too much, then I guess I'd settle for being remembered only as a great boxer who became a leader and a champion of his people. And I wouldn't even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was."

President Barack Obama said in a statement, "Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Period. If you asked him, he'd tell you. He'd tell you he was the double greatest; that he'd 'handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder into jail.'"

Former President Bill Clinton, whose wife Hillary is the current front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, said in a statement issued to People: "Hillary and I are saddened by the passing of Muhammad Ali. We watched him grow from the brash self-confidence of youth and success into a manhood full of religious and political convictions that led him to make tough choices and live with the consequences. Along the way we saw him courageous in the ring, inspiring to the young, compassionate to those in need, and strong and good-humored in bearing the burden of his own health challenges. I was honored to award him the Presidential Citizens Medal at the White House, to watch him light the Olympic flame, and to forge a friendship with a man who, through triumph and trials, became even greater than his legend."

Boxing legend Mike Tyson gave props to Ali on Twitter, writing, "God came for his champion." He posted with it a cheerful photo of the two men together.

Boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. posted a long note on Instagram, thanking Ali for his hard work on behalf of "Black America":

Boxer George Foreman wrote that he felt he was one with Ali and fellow boxing champ Joe Frazier, posting a photo of the three and sending his condolences to Ali's family.

Oscar-winning documentarian Michael Moore highlighted Ali's controversial refusal to serve in Vietnam in a series of tweets, also recalling that the pacifist had discarded his Olympic gold medal after being greeted with a racial slur and a refusal of service at a U.S. diner in the '60s.

UFC champ Jon "Bones" Jones posted an image of himself with signed Ali memorabilia, writing, "A few things I'll cherish forever".

Madonna, who presented Ali with an award from the Parkinson's Disease Foundation back in 1995, posted three images of the boxer on Instagram, along with the tribute, "This Man. This King. This Hero. This Human! Words cannot express. He shook up the World! God Bless Him." The entertainer once said she had more images of Ali than of her own family hanging in her home. She also mourned the loss of so many "National Treasures" this year, a reference to the deaths of icons like Prince and David Bowie.

Though Ali had sharply criticized Donald Trump in a December statement urging Muslims to "stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee nonetheless remembered him warmly:

Singer Paul Simon announced Ali's death during his performance of the song "The Boxer" Friday night, leading to cries of "no!"

Other luminaries offering their thoughts on the icon's passing:

Most movingly of all, Ali's daughter Laila wrote a message of thanks on Facebook illustrated by an image of Ali kissing his granddaughter:

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