Muhammad Ali
Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, pictured Sept. 24, 2008, was hospitalized in Phoenix with respiratory issues. Getty Images

Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was hospitalized Thursday with a respiratory issue in Phoenix, where he lives, family spokesman Bob Gunnell said in an exclusive statement to ESPN Thursday.

"A brief hospital stay is expected. At this time, the Muhammad Ali family respectfully requests privacy,” Gunnell said about the 74-year-old. "He is being treated by his team of doctors and is in fair condition."

The three-time world heavyweight champion has been hospitalized several times in recent years, twice in 2014 and 2015 for a severe urinary tract infection that was originally diagnosed as pneumonia.

Ali, whose birth name is Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., suffers from Parkinson’s disease. He was diagnosed with the disorder in 1984 at the age of 42, just three years after he retired from boxing.

His public appearances dwindled over the past few years. He made a rare appearance in September to attend a ceremony at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, where he was recognized as a hometown hero, Us Weekly wrote.

He is married to Yolanda Williams and has nine children: seven daughters and two sons.

His daughter Laila followed in his footsteps and is an undefeated four-time world champion boxer. She recently appeared on the Food Network show “Chopped.”

Laila, 38, did not comment about her father’s hospitalization on social media.

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