Muhammad Ali 'vastly improved' after bout of pneumonia

Story highlights

  • Former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali has pneumonia
  • The illness was discovered quickly, Ali's spokesman says
  • He is expected to be out of the hospital soon, the spokesman says
  • Ali became heavyweight world champion for the first time in 1964
Famed boxer Muhammad Ali has "vastly improved" after being hospitalized over the weekend with a mild case of pneumonia, his spokesman Bob Gunnell said.
"Ali's team of doctors hopes to discharge him soon," said Gunnell.
Ali, 72, was admitted to an undisclosed hospital on Saturday.
"The Ali family continues to request privacy and appreciates all of the prayers and well wishes," read a statement sent from Gunnell.
Ali was born Cassius Clay and won an Olympic gold medal as a light-heavyweight at 18.
In 1964, he became world heavyweight champion in an upset victory against then-champion Sonny Liston, according to Ali's official website.
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 refusal to be drafted into service out of religious conviction.
He retired from boxing in 1981 and announced his diagnosis with Parkinson's disease three years later.