Muhammad Ali dead: Michael J Fox pays tribute to fellow Parkinson's disease sufferer and their 'common fight'

'Who else would you want in your corner?'

May Bulman
Sunday 05 June 2016 18:28
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Michael J Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease nearly a decade after Ali’s diagnosis in 1984, and they worked together to campaign for a cure
Michael J Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease nearly a decade after Ali’s diagnosis in 1984, and they worked together to campaign for a cure

Michael Fox has paid a touching tribute to Muhammad Ali, praising the late boxer for his work fighting against Parkinson’s Disease.

The Canadian-American actor, writer and activist described Ali as “a great person” and hailed his character before expressing how privileged he feels to have worked with the three-time heavyweight champion on a common cause.

“Before I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s I admired him. I admired his poise, his class, his style, his stoicism, his belief in what he felt was right and his willingness to accept the consequences of standing up for that," Fox told the BBC.

“All of that was just impressive. And then to have actually met him and joined with him in a common cause and a common fight… I mean who else would you want in your corner?”

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the early 1990s, nearly a decade after Ali’s diagnosis in 1984.

When Fox announced his condition publicly in 1998, he and Ali joined forces to spread awareness about the critical need to fund research for a cure. They made a joint appearance before Congress to push the case in 2002.

As part of the campaign, the pair made a series of short videos to raise awareness of the disease and encourage the public to make donations to the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Disease, a nonprofit organisation founded by Fox in 2000.

The foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease through an aggressively funded research agenda.

On the day of Ali’s death, Fox tweeted: “Ali, the G-O-A-T. A giant, an inspiration, a man of peace, a warrior for the cure. Thank you.”

Ali died on Friday night in Arizona after suffering from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by the fact that he had Parkinson's disease.

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