Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali
Frazier (L) and Ali had one of the greatest rivalries in Boxing. Picture - Reuters.

Former world heavyweight champion Joe Frazier lost his battle with liver cancer and died Monday night at 67, his family confirmed in a statement.

Smokin' Joe, as he was called, had been diagnosed with cancer several weeks ago and was under hospital care.

Having held the world title between 1970 and 1973, Frazier will be best remembered for his great rivalry with Muhammad Ali.

The two champions shared a relationship which was often fractious, due mainly to Ali's taunts in the buildup to their three great fights. Frazier lived under the shadow of his great rival, despite being the first man to beat Ali, in 1971. Ali was victorious in their next two bouts though, including the epic in 1975 - Thrilla in Manilla.

They are believed to have shared friendly terms in recent years.

Ali paid his respects to the old rival.

The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration, said Ali, 69.

My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones.

George Foreman, to whom Frazier lost his crown to in 1973, wrote on Twitter: Goodnight Joe Frazier. I love you dear friend,

Lennox Lewis, the former British heavyweight champion, told BBC Radio 5 live: Without him, other boxing heroes wouldn't be great because they tested their talent against him. He definitely was legendary and he made a great contribution to boxing.

I'm so sad for his family. Nobody likes to hear about great heroes passing on. It's a very sad day for boxing.