Muhammad Ali on life support as family is warned 'the end is near'
Boxing legend Muhammad Ali is in intensive care embroiled in his most courageous bout - for his life.
The children of the sporting icon have rushed to be at his bedside as doctors treating the former heavyweight champ have told them they fear he “is near the end”.
Already four of the 74-year-old’s nine children, including daughters Laila, Hana and Maryum, are at the hospital in the Phoenix area where medics continue to fight a breathing problem picked up by the star.
The children flew in last night from around the US as doctors said the future survival of the champ was “uncertain”.
Although there were discussions about transporting him to another area of the hospital, sources claimed doctors decided the move “potentially could be deadly,” and the transfer was called off.
Sources close to the star say Ali’s battle with his respiratory problem has been complicated by the Parkinson's that he was diagnosed with in the 1980s.
Read more: Boxing legend Muhammad Ali taken to hospital to be treated for a respiratory problem
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“Like in the ring, Ali is a fighter on the ward,” said a source. “Doctors are working to regulate his breathing put it is being hampered by his Parkinson’s.
Ali watched daughter Laila's career with pride
“Ali is everything to them and there are worried his problems are worse than first feared.”
Read more: Support floods in after Ali admitted to hospital
The boxer has children - two sons and seven daughters - from three marriages although two of his kids are from extra marital relationships.
Confirming his daughters had flown to be with him the fighter’s third wife Veronica Porche, 60, said Laila – a 38-year-old retired professional boxer — and Hana Yasmeen, 40, were with him.
Ali’s second wife, Khalilah, 66, said one of her three daughters by Ali “is on her way” to the hospital as well.
She was married to him from 1967 to 1997, and was succeeded by Porche.
Ali is the world's foremost sporting icon
Yesterday a spokesman for the ex heavyweight champion confirmed to the Mirror Ali was under medical care and described his condition as “fair”.
Read more: George Foreman reveals he FaceTimes Ali
"Ali, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, is being treated by his team of doctors and is in fair condition," said Bob Gunnell in a written statement.
"A brief hospital stay is expected. At this time, the Muhammad Ali family respectfully requests privacy."
Since he was admitted sources say Ali, arguably the most recognised person in the world, has deteriorated.
News of his dash to hospital sparked on outpouring of concern on social media with many fans fearing the worst.
Many celebrities added their best wishes including Sugar Ray Leonard, who modelled his career after Ali.
Ali’s life long friend Tim Shanahan confirmed the grave news to the Mirror.
The former medical-instruments salesman has enjoyed a 40-year friendship with the former boxer travelling the world together and being close to the boxer’s daughters.
He said: “Service to others is the rent that we pay on earth for our room in heaven, was an encryption he liked.
“He believes that God keeps tabs on each individual and that on one side are the good deeds one has done in life and on the other, the bad deeds.”
“He used to tell me ‘I want to make sure that when I die, I have more good deeds than bad deeds’.
“Now Muhammad Ali, your room in heaven is right next to God's master bedroom in his mansion in heaven. Thank you for giving the world the Greatest Love of All.”
The boxer has been in hospital several times in recent years, most recently in early 2015 when he was treated for a severe urinary tract infection initially diagnosed as pneumonia.
The Olympic gold medalist had suffered a “mild case” of pneumonia in December 2014 but was discharged after a few days in hospital.
When he was released his daughter Rasheda Ali-Walsh said: “My daddy is a strong man. He's so resilient and we're all very grateful and blessed.”