A personal response to death of Muhammad Ali and Parkinson’s Disease


Muhammad Ali  RIP

(27 January 1942 – 3 June 2016)


4th June, 2016

What a sad loss to the world and his family to hear of the death of Muhammad Ali.  An example of self belief, positive mental attitude and self confidence. A man of his time, a real gentleman and ambassador for civil rights and sport. He leaves behind an enduring legacy of having made a real difference in people’s lives for good. What an amazing gift and inspiration for us to do the same. We bring nothing into this world, and we can take nothing with us when we leave, except  having loved and been loved. My condolences go out to his family and friends at this sad time.

As a nurse and wife of a partner with Parkinson’s Disease I would like to correct one thing that I feel has been inaccurate in the media news reports.   When my husband was diagnosed with typical Idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease ie most common form Parkinson’s, his fear was that he would become as ill as Muhammad Ali. There are many types of Parkinson’s – see Parkinson’s UK – Types of Parkinson’s and Parkinsonism . The Neurologist said Ali did not have typical Parkinson’s Disease, he had Pugilistic Parkinsonism as a result of being punch drunk, which is different and has a different pathology and etiology. The reason I emphasise this is that it can give the wrong impression and instill fear into newly diagnosed patients and the public mind as it did with my husband, that everyone with Parkinson’s will end looking like and experiencing the same symptoms as Muhammad Ali. It can be a very disabling, and it is a progressive, degenerative neurological condition. But it affects people differently, and not everyone will end up with these severe symptoms. People don’t die of Parkinson’s! It is not a terminal condition, but like many co-morbidities e.g. Coronary Heart Disease, it can be a contributing factor. It also highlights for me the dangers of boxing which can cause this form of Parkinsonism.

Links for more information about Parkinson’s Disease:


Parkinson’s UK


Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (USA)


[Disclaimer: I would like to say that these are my own personal opinions. I am not sponsored by nor benefit from any financial gain from any organisations in expressing them]

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