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.'"
"We pray that the greatest fighter of them all finally rests in peace." —President Obama #RIPMuhammadAli— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 4, 2016
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":
Today my heart goes out to a pioneer, a true legend, and a hero by all means! Not a day went by entering the gym that I didn't think of you. Your charisma, your charm and above all, your class are all of the elements that will be greatly missed by myself and the world. You are someone that inspired me greatly throughout my boxing journey and words cannot express how great you were as a person! Thank you for everything you've done for Black America, in the the world of sports & entertainment and for the legacy you leave behind! My sincerest condolences to the Ali family!
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.
Ali, Frazier & Foreman we were 1 guy a part of me slipped away "the greatest piece" Muhammad Ali.— George Foreman (@GeorgeForeman) June 4, 2016
Hana Ali & the whole family, my heart goes out you. Muhammad Ali has been a fine man. That will never die. pic.twitter.com/3L5HK0zPCb— George Foreman (@GeorgeForeman) June 4, 2016
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.
Ali- we will NEVER forget your courage, standing up to those in power. You gave up your title & your career rather than kill Vietnamese. RIP— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) June 4, 2016
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:
Muhammad Ali is dead at 74! A truly great champion and a wonderful guy. He will be missed by all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2016
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:
"I’ve wrestled with alligators,— edgarwright (@edgarwright) June 4, 2016
I’ve tussled with a whale.
I done handcuffed lightning,
And thrown thunder in jail." - R.I.P. Ali.
Rest in Peace #MuhammedAli Had the dream come true of meeting him. The G.O.A.T. He said it himself. And then could back up what he said.— Phil Rosenthal (@PhilRosenthal) June 4, 2016
In a year where many greats have passed, the greatest of all has just left us. Goodbye champ. Fly like a butterfly. pic.twitter.com/S5Hc992tvY— Josh Gad (@joshgad) June 4, 2016
A child asked Muhammad Ali what he would do when he retired. His long, beautiful answer stunned the crowd.https://t.co/qAuYcJUmv1— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) June 3, 2016
Muhammad Ali was the greatest, not only an extraordinary athlete but a man of great courage and humanity.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 4, 2016
For the greatest man I have ever known. https://t.co/OUZHVZWBHY— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) June 3, 2016
Muhammad Ali, courageous in all things in which he believed. Led by example. Dignity, humor, generosity, love. Still dancing.— Susan Sarandon (@SusanSarandon) June 4, 2016
Most movingly of all, Ali's daughter Laila wrote a message of thanks on Facebook illustrated by an image of Ali kissing his granddaughter: