According to boxing legend Muhammad Ali’s longtime friend, he’s a “prisoner in his own body.”
Gene Kilroy, Ali’s business partner and close friend, spoke with the New York Daily News about the star’s condition recently.
The 73-year-old former world champion has been in poor health since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984.
“It’s hard seeing him as he is today,” Kilroy said. “He can just about walk and his speech is slurred. It takes a huge effort for him to make the simplest communication now, but when he does, every word is worthwhile.”
Last December, Ali was rushed to the hospital with pneumonia. He was readmitted a few weeks later after suffering from a urinary tract infection after being found unresponsive in his bed.
Kilroy says Ali has no fear, and told him, “I’ll stay here as long as God wants me to. When my time comes I’ll have no regrets. I have achieved a lot.”
The two have been friend since they met at the Rome Olympics in 1960.
In a documentary entitled I Am Ali, Kilroy paid tribute to his longtime friend.
“Ali was a champion in and out of the ring,” he said. “He was more than just a fighter, he was king of the world. Everyone who met Ali loved him and every man who fought against him became a better fighter as a result.”