Today marks what would have been the 75th birthday of one of the 20th century’s most significant and celebrated sports figures, Muhammad Ali.

Born Cassius Clay Jr in 1942 in the Southern U.S. state of Kentucky, Ali began his rise to fame in 1960 when he won a gold medal in light heavyweight division of the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Four years later, he truly shot to superstardom after winning the WBA, WBC and lineal heavyweight titles. It was also during the late 1960s that he changed his name to Muhammed Ali, describing “Cassius Clay” as his “slave name”.

While mostly recognised for his efforts in the boxing ring, Ali was the voice behind quotes such as “float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee”. He was also a keen activist for black Americans’ civil rights, and strongly opposed the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam conflict, making him an icon of counterculture.

Ali hung up his boxing gloves in 1981, and in 1984 was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, a result of decades spent in the boxing ring. Over the next 32 years, he yet again showed his fighting spirit in combatting the disease, until he passed away on June 3, 2016. On average, sufferers live between seven and 14 years after diagnosis.

To celebrate his birthday, Bored Panda has found a selection of photographs to document Ali’s remarkable life as an athlete, an activist, and an inspiration to athletes and non-athletes alike all over the world.

#1 Ali With Daughter Maryum. February 1970

Ali With Daughter Maryum. February 1970

Carl Fischer Report

Alexandra Lee 1 year ago

Thus is the cutest, showing a gentle side of a vicious fighter.

#2 Muhammad Ali With The Jacksons

Muhammad Ali With The Jacksons

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Alexandra Lee 1 year ago

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Who knew the Jackson boys' had an odd hobby of torturing wrestlers?

#3 Muhammad Ali With The Beatles

Muhammad Ali With The Beatles

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Emre 1 year ago

I love his sense of humor

#4 Muhammad Ali Spends Some Quality Time With His Daughter Maryum, 1974

Muhammad Ali Spends Some Quality Time With His Daughter Maryum, 1974

Ebony Collection Report

#5 Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali Stands Over Fallen Challenger Sonny Liston, Shouting And Gesturing Shortly After Dropping Liston With A Short Hard Right To The Jaw On May 25, 1965, In Lewiston, Maine. The Bout Lasted Only One Minute Into The First Round.

Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali Stands Over Fallen Challenger Sonny Liston, Shouting And Gesturing Shortly After Dropping Liston With A Short Hard Right To The Jaw On May 25, 1965, In Lewiston, Maine. The Bout Lasted Only One Minute Into The First Round.

John Rooney Report

Emre 1 year ago

Greatest and the most iconic photos of boxing

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#6 Perspiration Beads On The Face Of Muhammad Ali, Shown In Training For His Fight With Sonny Liston At Lewiston, Maine, 1965

Perspiration Beads On The Face Of Muhammad Ali, Shown In Training For His Fight With Sonny Liston At Lewiston, Maine, 1965

AP Photo Report

Emre 1 year ago

No pain no gain...This is what he taught all of us.

#7 Pope John Paul II Looks On As Muhammad Ali, Former Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Signs His Autograph In Vatican City, June 6, 1982

Pope John Paul II Looks On As Muhammad Ali, Former Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Signs His Autograph In Vatican City, June 6, 1982

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#8 Muhammad Ali At London's Heathrow Airport In 1977 When He Left For New York With His Daughters

Muhammad Ali At London's Heathrow Airport In 1977 When He Left For New York With His Daughters

AP Photos Report

#9 Boxer Cassius Clay Is Shown In 1954

Boxer Cassius Clay Is Shown In 1954

AP Photos Report

#10 Young Muhammad Ali Points To A Sign He Wrote In His Dressing Room Before His Fight Against Archie Moore In Los Angeles, Predicting He’d Knock Moore Out In The Fourth Round, Which He Went On To Do

Young Muhammad Ali Points To A Sign He Wrote In His Dressing Room Before His Fight Against Archie Moore In Los Angeles, Predicting He’d Knock Moore Out In The Fourth Round, Which He Went On To Do

Harold P. Matosian Report