Muhammad Ali was born January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky in the segregated south. He realized his talent for boxing at the age of twelve.
Ali worked hard and became a boxing champion of the world and a boxing gold medalist.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 1984 at age 42.
Parkinson's disease is a neuro-degenerative disorder. The cells involved in movement begin to due to the lack of dopamine is is transmitted to the cell. Patient's loose the ability to control voluntary movement which causes symptoms like trembling and the slowing down of their body. There is currently no cure although treatment is available to lessen the affects.
He had just retired from boxing in 1981 after hard loses against a few of boxing's finest competitors. It is thought that being hit so hard in the head in his boxing days could have assisted the disease develop.
He developed the tendency to tremble, which is common among Parkinson's patients and it became difficult for him to speak.
There's no specific test to diagnose Parkinson's. Medical history and neurological examination are used to diagnose as well as noticing the two cardinal symptoms which are trembling and rigidity.
He never let the disease get the best of him or feel sorry for himself. After retirement he raised funds for the Muhammad Ali Center, a community center he made in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky and supported the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Special Olympics.
In 1996 at the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta he lit the Olympic cauldron and his hands trembled as he did it due to his Parkinson's. This became an emotional event in sports history.
He also visited countries like Mexico and Morocco to help those who needed it and was picked to be a United Nations Messenger of Peace due to his work.
He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush in 2005. He also opened the Muhammad Ali Center that same year. He received the President's Award by the NAACP in 2009
Despite this disease he faced, Ali remained active and made public appearances through his life. He passed away June 3, 2016 after being taken to the hospital with repository problems. He had planned his own funeral and allowed who ever wanted honor him do so as they wanted. Ali never gave up and continued to make an impact in the world while having Parkinson's.