Family spokesman: Ali died with 'love all around him'

Published: Jun. 4, 2016 at 6:54 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Shortly after the death of global icon and Louisville native Muhammad Ali, a spokesman for the family said the boxing legend "changed the world and made a difference."

Bob Gunnell told WAVE 3 News early Saturday that Ali died while surrounded by loved ones less than an hour earlier.

"It was an emotional experience, but it was one that was done with the wishes of Muhammad, and the way that he would have wanted this to occur, with love all around him," Gunnell said. "It was a special evening, but it's a great loss."

Gunnell also said the former heavyweight champion fought Parkinson's disease for many years until his final breath.

"His wishes were not to be kept at home as if he were ill," he said. "He didn't consider this an illness. Muhammad lived by example."

Gunnell recalled a group dinner outing at a Louisville restaurant this year that went late because of Ali.

"People came up for his autograph, and he just lit up," Gunnell said. "It was 11:30 at night when we left. He asked to stay to shake the hands of everyone who came up to meet him."

Copyright 2016 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.