Ali announced he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a disease that affects the way one moves and causes symptoms such as tremors, slow movements, and improper balance, in 1984, four years after his retirement. He had spent his years in retirement as a philanthropist.
Parkinson's disease is common among boxers due to the amount of head trauma inflicted during fights. It develops gradually over many years, as it did in Ali even after he had retired from fighting. Although not diagnosed until 1984, Ali showed symptoms of Parkinson's disease as early as 1975, with slowed movements and minor tremors. Dr. Stanley Fahn, a prominent neurologist, was able to detect symptoms of Parkinson's and officially diagnosed Ali with Parkinson's.
Modern treatments, such as medications and certain surgeries, along with better rest and exercise regiments allow patients with Parkinson's to live an average lifespan, although with very hindered movement. Muhammad Ali lived to age 74. He took part in an experimental treatment for five days, but quit due to feeling the clinic had used him to gain publicity, and continued with normal treatments.
Muhammad Ali also began the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Pheonix, Arizona, which is responsible for having raised over 100 million dollars towards research for Parkinson's disease.
Ali also spent much time after being diagnosed acting as a United Nations Messenger of Peace due to diplomatic work in young nations and even aiding in the release of United States soldiers taken prisoner, proving to the world that while Parkinson's disease is taxing, it is in no way a boundary, or a limit.