Laila Ali Breaks Her Silence After Dad's Death: 'I Have Comfort Knowing He's Not Suffering Anymore'
Muhammad Ali's daughter, Laila, is breaking her silence about her famous father, and offering the world insight into the legendary fighter's death.
She spoke to Good Morning America Monday morning saying, “all of us kids... were all at the hospital and all had the opportunity to be with him when he passed away. We all were there and that doesn’t always happen, when everybody has the opportunity to be there, so that was very nice."
The 38-year-old said the atmosphere inside the hospital was “a very peaceful time and we sent him off in a very peaceful way."
The Champ had been hospitalized Thursday near Phoenix with respiratory problems. The 74-year-old boxer had suffered from Parkinson’s disease for decades.
His daughter, also a former boxer, said: “I can say that I’m obviously really sad but I’ve been sad for a long time just watching my father struggling with Parkinson’s disease.
“You know, you hold your head up and you say, ‘Yeah, he’s doing great,’ but, you know, I felt like he was trapped inside of his body so I have comfort in knowing that he’s not suffering anymore. So that’s what makes me feel better."
Born Cassius Clay in 1942, Ali would go on to change his name after joining the Black Muslim movement.
As Muhammad Ali, the fighter became the first to win heavyweight titles three times. He finished his career with 37 wins by knockout.
“I just have so much respect for him because you just don't see that. You don't see that anymore, not only in just athletes, I mean there's just not that many men that you can compare to my father," Laila said. "When I think of my father, I think of people like Nelson Mandela and people like that."
Funeral services are planned for this weekend in Ali's hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, where the city plans to hold a memorial. The flags were ordered at half-staff in the city to honor the death of its native son.
Laila added: “This man just transcends everything there is and everybody just loves him. There isn’t anybody else like him. I don’t think there ever will be. That makes me sad too. He’s passing on and I’m just like, man, what does this next generation have?"
Muhammad’s daughter, Hana, penned an emotional letter to her iconic father on Instagram.