President Obama Muhammad Ali Tribute: “Rest In Peace, Champ” (PHOTO)
As Gossip Cop reported, Ali died on Friday at age 74 after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s Disease. On Saturday morning, the President used his @POTUS Twitter account to share, “He shook up the world, and the world’s better for it. Rest in peace, Champ.” He also posted a photo (at right and below), which shows him in an office with an old picture of Ali on the wall behind him.
Additionally, Obama also released a lengthy, formal statement through the White House press office. The president’s comments began:
“Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Period. If you just asked him, he’d tell you. He’d tell you he was the double greatest; that he’d “handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder into jail.”
But what made The Champ the greatest — what truly separated him from everyone else — is that everyone else would tell you pretty much the same thing.
Like everyone else on the planet, Michelle and I mourn his passing. But we’re also grateful to God for how fortunate we are to have known him, if just for a while; for how fortunate we all are that The Greatest chose to grace our time.
In my private study, just off the Oval Office, I keep a pair of his gloves on display, just under that iconic photograph of him — the young champ, just 22 years old, roaring like a lion over a fallen Sonny Liston. I was too young when it was taken to understand who he was — still Cassius Clay, already an Olympic Gold Medal winner, yet to set out on a spiritual journey that would lead him to his Muslim faith, exile him at the peak of his power, and set the stage for his return to greatness with a name as familiar to the downtrodden in the slums of Southeast Asia and the villages of Africa as it was to cheering crowds in Madison Square Garden.”
Obama went on to acknowledge Ali “wasn’t perfect.” He noted, “For all his magic in the ring, he could be careless with his words, and full of contradictions as his faith evolved.” The statement continued:
But his wonderful, infectious, even innocent spirit ultimately won him more fans than foes — maybe because in him, we hoped to see something of ourselves. Later, as his physical powers ebbed, he became an even more powerful force for peace and reconciliation around the world. We saw a man who said he was so mean he’d make medicine sick reveal a soft spot, visiting children with illness and disability around the world, telling them they, too, could become the greatest. We watched a hero light a torch, and fight his greatest fight of all on the world stage once again; a battle against the disease that ravaged his body, but couldn’t take the spark from his eyes.
Obama concluded, “Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it. We are all better for it. Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family, and we pray that the greatest fighter of them all finally rests in peace.” See the President’s personal picture below.