Muhammad Ali released from hospital one eve of 73rd birthday

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Appearing very frail, boxing legend Muhammad Ali made a rare public appearance Thursday, October 3, 2013 at an event in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky to pay homage to others for their humanitarian work. Image courtesy of CNN.

By Steve Almasy

CNN

(CNN) — Boxing legend Muhammad Ali is back at home following several days in the hospital, a family spokesman said Friday.

Ali, who has Parkinson’s disease and received follow-up care for a urinary tract infection this week at an undisclosed hospital, was released as expected Friday, the day before his 73rd birthday.

Bob Gunnell said Ali is looking forward to gathering with family and friends to watch a college basketball game Saturday between the Duke Blue Devils and his hometown team, the Louisville Cardinals.

His family thanked fans in a written statement for “the outpouring of support and continued well wishes.”

Ali was initially released from the hospital on January 7 after an 18-day stay.

Born Cassius Clay, the fighter won an Olympic gold medal as a light-heavyweight at 18. In 1964, he became world heavyweight champion in an upset victory over Sonny Liston.

Shortly thereafter, he changed his name to Muhammad Ali to reflect his conversion to Islam.

The boxer was also known for his protest against the Vietnam War and refusing to be drafted on religious grounds.

He won his first 31 professional fights before losing to Joe Frazier in 1971, a bout hailed by some boxing experts as one of the greatest of all time.

He retired from boxing in 1981 as a four-time heavyweight champion and announced his diagnosis with Parkinson’s three years later.

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