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04/11/05 - Showbiz section
Ali has months to live
Muhammad ALI may have just months to live, it has emerged yesterday. The 63-year-old boxing great, who has battled Parkinson's disease for 20 years, can no longer talk and is shutting himself away from those closest to him.
His daughter Laila said: "It is painful for me because I would love to sit down and talk with my dad about the way he used to be when he was my age, when he was in his prime, because we are so alike. I can't really do that. I can't share a lot of things with him.
"He likes doing simple things, to draw and colour and do magic tricks. But his attention span is very short."
A close family friend said: "His condition has worsened. At this point he may only have months to live."
Ali's manager, Howard Bingham, added: "Laila feels she is losing him."
The heavyweight boxing legend was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1985, four years after he quit the sport. He is presently having therapy following treatment for neck and back problems.
Another family friend told the National Enquirer: "The guy has always been a battler and he's been fighting Parkinson's as best he can for years. But this is one match he is going to lose no matter how many rounds he goes."
Ali won the world heavyweight crown three times and clocked up 56 wins, with just five losses, in his professional career. The boxer, who has an estimated Â£35million fortune, lives in Berrien Springs, Michigan.
Parkinson's patients often suffer shaking, loss of co-ordination and depression as brain nerve cells that control movement deteriorate.