LONDON: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today expressed his condolences to the family, loved ones, and fans of heavyweight boxing legend Muhammad Ali , a 20th Century icon whose fame transcended sport during a remarkable career that spanned three decades.

The beloved 74-year-old sports hero, who had been battling Parkinson’s disease for decades, passed away in a hospital here where he had been admitted earlier this week suffering from respiratory problems.

Upon his death tributes immediately poured in for "The Greatest," who was known globally not only for his storied ring career but also for his humanitarian activism.

“For the past half a century, he has been an inspiration for not only young American’s, but also young men and women of the world as a shining example of defying the odds with perseverance and a positive attitude,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in a statement issued from a London hospital where he recently underwent an open-heart surgery.

Nawaz Sharif said: “His legacy has not only impacted modern boxing, he has also been an instrumental figure in changing social, political and religious narratives surrounding minorities in the West and for that, we are in his debt.”

“The world is truly poorer without him,” he added.