New Delhi, June 4: Sporting celebrities across the globe took to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to pay their tributes to the legendary boxer.
“God came for his champion. So long great one. @MuhammadAli #TheGreatest #RIP,” Tyson tweeted.
Former World champion Lennox Lewis tweeted, “A giant among men, Ali displayed a greatness in talent, courage & conviction, that most of us will ever be able to truly comprehend. #RIPAli”
Recalling his playing days, former Olympic gold medallist and two-time world heavyweight champion George Foreman, who lost to Ali in the famous ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ in Zaire, said, “Ralph Ali, Frazier & Foreman we were 1 guy. A part of me slipped away, ‘The greatest piece’.”
Former world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao tweeted, “Please keep @MuhammadAli in your thoughts and prayers. With God, all things are possible.”
Pacquiao’s nemessis Floyd Mayweather took to Instagram to pour his heart out, “Today my heart goes out to a pioneer, a true legend, and a hero by all means! Your charisma, your charm and above all, your class are all of the elements that will be greatly missed by myself and the world.”
“You are someone that inspired me greatly throughout my boxing journey and words can not express how great you were as a person! Thank you for everything you’ve done for Black America, in the the world of sports & entertainment and for the legacy you leave behind! My sincerest condolences to the Ali family!” he added.
Calling Ali a true Olympian, Intertiol Olympic Council (IOC) president Thomas Bach said, “He was an athlete who touched the hearts of people across the globe, an athlete who was engaged beyond sport, an athlete who had the courage to give hope to so many suffering illness by lighting the Olympic cauldron and not hiding his own affliction. He was an athlete who fought for peace and tolerance — he was a true Olympian.”
German football legend Franz Beckenbauer termed Ali as the greatest of all in his message, “Very sad day: the GREATEST has gone.”
Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar also took to Twitter to pay his last respects to the legendary boxer.
“My hero since childhood. I always had a wish to meet you some day but now it will never happen. RIP “The Greatest”,” Sachin wrote.
Legendary Indian tennis player Leander Paes, who on Friday clinched the French Open mixed doubles with Swiss great Marti Hingis, called Ali the greatest athlete of all time.
“To the GREATEST OF ALL TIME...Thanks for giving every kid a Chance to DREAM...I BELIEVE CAUSE OF YOU... #RIPAli,” Paes tweeted.
Legendary American tennis player Marti vratilova called Ali a “hero” in her tweet, “RIP Muhammad Ali...we will miss your spirit and humanity. You were shunned,excoriated and jailed for the same reason that made you a hero...”
Beijing Olympics bronze medallist Vijender Singh, who turned professiol last year, tweeted, “@MuhammadAli sir u always be a legend ???? #RIP we always miss u.”
Five time World chess Champion Viswathan And also joined the list of celebrities in paying tribute to Ali.
“Your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see.. Maybe that’s why chess is boxing of the mind. Float like a butterfly sting like a bee would never be the same. R.I.P. The great #MuhammadAli,” And said.
Legendary sprinter and multiple Olympic gold medallist Michael Johnson tweeted, “He was my hero and gracious enough to write the foreword for my 1st book Slaying The Dragon. The best! #RIPChamp.”
Italy and Juventus football legend Alessandro del Piero said, “Few have passed from the legend of sport to the story of mankind. Thank you ?#?MuhammadAli? eterl example.” IANS