Park West Gallery joins the world in mourning the loss of Muhammad Ali, who passed away at the age of 74 on June 3.
The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer passed away from complications related to his 32-year-long battle with Parkinson’s disease. A public funeral service will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 10 at the KFC YUM! Center. The event will also be streamed live from www.alicenter.org.
“Park West Gallery is saddened by the loss of one of the great figures of our time. We offer our condolences to Ali’s family and friends,” says Park West Gallery Founder and CEO Albert Scaglione.
In 2004, Scaglione wanted to commemorate the life of Ali, a man he admired greatly, through hand-signed, approved memorabilia and artwork. A formal agreement between Park West Gallery and Ali was formed that same year, which resulted in assembling a collection over a period of nearly five years.
Through this agreement, the gallery had the honor of collaborating with Ali on multiple projects, including providing collectors with hand-signed sports memorabilia and photos signed by the Champ. Ali also worked with Park West artists Simon Bull and Peter Max to create a series of paintings dedicated to the boxing legend. A number of these works are featured at the Muhammad Ali Center.
In an excerpt from a story written by Bull, the artist offers insight into his experience working side-by-side with Ali:
“Not many people are aware that he was also an artist. As part of his therapy he would sit in his recliner and do intricate designs with colored markers all day long. We sat together sketching once when I was at his home in Scottsdale. He with his markers and me with my pencil, working on his portrait, it was an intimate moment, the world’s greatest sporting figure sitting quietly in his favorite chair while I carefully observed and sketched.”
In August 2008, the first Bull works in the collection were displayed at the Ali Center. Scaglione and his wife, Mitsie, Bull and a number of foster youth from the Park West Foundation visited the center to celebrate the occasion. Ali took time out of his schedule to meet with the youth and encourage them.
Mourners can pay their respects at the Muhammad Ali Center, located at 144 N. 6th St. in Louisville. The family is asking for donations to the center in lieu of gifts or flowers. The non-profit Muhammad Ali Center focuses on his life and career, but also promotes his core values of respect, confidence, conviction, dedication, giving and spirituality.
Ali will forever be remembered as The Greatest, with a record of 56-5, of which 37 wins were by knock out. Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., he took on his new name following his conversion to Islam. He became the world heavyweight champion at age 22 after his upset of Sonny Liston in 1964. Ali was known for having an unorthodox fighting style for a heavyweight, embodying his catchphrase “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” by relying on superior reflexes and speed.
Outside of the ring, Ali was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton in 2001, and in November 2005 received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush. Ali also received the Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold of the UN Association of Germany in Berlin for his work in the U.S. civil rights movement.