Muhammad Ali ‘vastly improved’ after bout of pneumonia

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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

CNN —  

Famed boxer Muhammad Ali was admitted to an undisclosed hospital Saturday with 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 age 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 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.

Ben Brumfield, Joe Sutton, Kevin Dotson and Mayra Cuevas contributed to this report.