WWE issued the following statement regarding the passing of Muhammad Ali on Friday at age 74. Ali, who had been battling Parkinson’s disease after being diagnosed in 1984, was hospitalized on Monday suffering from respiratory issues.
WWE is saddened to learn that three-time world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali passed away at age 74 on June 3, 2016.
The Louisville native won six Kentucky Golden Glove Championships and the gold medal for the United States as a light heavyweight in Rome’s 1960 Summer Olympics before beginning his professional career.
Ali also made history for his historic boxer vs. wrestler match against WWE Hall of Famer Antonio Inoki in Tokyo on June 26, 1976. The fight is regarded as a precursor to modern mixed martial arts.
In 1985, Ali made his mark in WWE history when he was one of the special guest referees for the main event of the first WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden. The bout featured WWE Champion Hulk Hogan and pop culture icon Mr. T against “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. During the contest, Ali climbed up onto the ring apron and took a swing at Piper.
WWE extends its condolences to Ali’s family, friends and fans.