Paul Simon informed fans of the death of Muhammad Ali while performing ‘The Boxer’ at his gig in Los Angeles on Friday night (June 3).
“I’m sorry to tell you this in this way, but Muhammad Ali passed away,” Simon told the crowd before delivering the song’s final verse. “I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains,” he then sang with added poignancy.
Simon also dedicated ‘The Sound Of Silence’ to the late sporting icon during his encore. Watch fan footage of Simon performing ‘The Boxer’ and breaking the sad news below.
Muhammad Ali died on June 3, aged 74. The athlete famously suffered from Parkinson’s disease which he battled for the last 32 years of his life. He passed away in Phoenix, Arizona after being admitted to hospital on Thursday with respiratory problems.
Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., was considered by many to be the greatest heavyweight boxer in history. He remains the only three-time lineal heavyweight champion of the world, taking home the title in 1964, 1974 and 1978.
Stars from the world of music have been since been paying their respects, with Paul McCartney calling him a “truly great man” and saying: “Besides being the greatest boxer, he was a beautiful, gentle man with a great sense of humour who would often pull a pack of cards out of his pocket, no matter how posh the occasion, and do a card trick for you.”