Born Cassius Marcellus Clay in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1942, Ali began boxing at the age of twelve. By the age of eighteen he had won all amateur titles available and in 1960 he won the Light Heavyweight Gold Medal at the Rome Olympics. On his return to the States, the young boxer - who had caused a stir with his unorthodox style of boxing and brash behaviour - turned professional and began what was to become the most remarkable career in the history of sport. Indeed, 'floating like a butterfly, stinging like a bee', punching, prophesying, and generally creating a storm of controversy wherever he appeared, he quite literally transformed his sport and became the world's most adored athlete. His conversion to Islam in the 1960s had a profound impact on his life and undoubtedly influences much of his search for peace and unity today. Despite suffering from Parkinson's Disease, Ali works tirelessly for a number of charitable organizations.
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