The legendary and controversial boxing icon, Muhammad Ali, died at the age of 74, after he had been taken to a hospital in Phoenix earlier in week for a respiratory issue. Ali had a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Muhammad Ali, who was a three-time heavyweight boxing champion, was a colorful personality both in the ring and outside.

He was described as eloquent, controversial and brilliant who was known as much for his social conscience and staunch opposition to the Vietnam War as for his dazzling boxing skills, Yahoo Sports reports.

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Things you may not know about Ali

Here are some interesting facts you may not know about Ali as compiled by

7-1 Underdog

In February 25, 1964, 22-year-old boxer Cassius Clay, who would become known as Muhammad Ali, stunned the sports by defeating reigning heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in Miami Beach, Florida. He was 7-1 underdog.

Ali boxing career was launched by a red-and-white Schwinn bicycle.

When Ali was 12-year-old, his beloved bicycle was stolen. He reported the theft to Louisville police officer Joe Martin, who was also a boxing trainer. Martin suggested that the upset youngster first learn how to fight, and he took Clay under his wing.

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He changed his name to Cassius X

Before becoming known as Muhammad Ali, he changed his name to Cassius X. After defeating Liston, the new heavyweight champion confirmed reports that he had become a member of the Nation of Islam. That name, Muhammad Ali, was bestowed on March 6, 1964.

Banned from boxing for three years

Ali was banned from boxing for three years after he refused to serve in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War for religious reasons. The heavyweight champion was arrested, and the New York State Athletic Commission immediately suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title.

Starred in a Broadway musical

Ali starred in a Broadway musical. He took to the stage in the title role of the musical “Buck White.” The production opened inside New York’s George Abbott Theater on December 2, 1969, but Ali’s stage career would be a brief one. “Buck White” closed four nights later after just seven performances.