SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) – A family spokesman says it was septic shock that finally killed Muhammad Ali.
The boxing great died last night at age 74 at a Phoenix-area hospital where he’d been admitted earlier in the week with respiratory problems.
Ali suffered from Parkinson’s disease, and while it’s not clear exactly what transpired, people with late-stage Parkinson’s often have difficulty swallowing. Food and liquid landing in the lungs can lead to pneumonia or a chest infection that could cause sepsis.
PHOTOS: The life of Muhammad Ali
One of Ali’s daughters describing her father’s last moments says his heart wouldn’t stop beating for 30 minutes after all of his other organs failed.
Hana Ali writes on Instagram that “no one had even seen anything like it.”
She says the family was surrounding Ali, hugging and kissing him, holding his hands and chanting an Islamic prayer while his heart kept beating as his other organs failed.
She calls it a “true testament to the strength of his spirit and will.”
His funeral is scheduled for Friday afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky. Eulogies will be given by former President Bill Clinton, Billy Crystal and Bryant Gumbel.