The world mourned the tragic loss of boxing legend Muhammad Ali as he passed away over the weekend.
But, as Muhammad Ali’s children and grandchildren gathered around his deathbed on Friday, they found themselves all together, just as the champ had wished.
Speaking to PEOPLE, Ali’s daughter, Hana Ali, said:
Out of our sorrow came a beautiful thought, that we were solidified. From the time we were little, dad always brought us together with our stepmother. He’d sit us down and say, ‘You have different mothers, but you are sisters. and I want you all to come together and love each other.’
Ali died aged 74 of ‘septic shock due to unspecified natural causes’ on Friday, after being treated at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.
He leaves behind nine children – Hannah, Laila, Rasheda, Maryum, Jamillah, Khaliah, Miya, Muhammad Ali Jr. and Asaad Amin, as well as his wife, Lonnie, and grandchildren.
This whole idea of the family staying together stemmed from their father’s relationships with his own family growing up.
A lot of people don’t know this, but he had two half-brothers he hardly knew. He didn’t want us to be strangers like that. So as he was lying in that hospital bed, we were standing around him, telling him, ‘You did it. All your children are friends. You gave us that.’ It hit us all in this moment: how grateful we were for this gift.
My last photo of my beautiful father…telling him I love him on May 22, 2016 pic.twitter.com/NcQHgPSIIF
— Hana Ali (@Hanayali) June 7, 2016
Rasheda echoed these sentiments, speaking to Entertainment Tonight, she said:
All of the kids and grandkids were there. We were all kissing him. I was on one cheek and Jamillah was on the other cheek. We all took turns just telling stories, laughing, crying. It was a beautiful moment. Those final moments were just the most magnificent.
The Greatest Man that ever lived. Daddy my best friend & my Hero You R no longer suffering & now in a better place. pic.twitter.com/IASO4u3Ikn
— RASHEDA ALI™ (@rashedaali) June 4, 2016
Hana and Laila are Ali’s children from his third marriage, to Veronica Porsche-Ali. He reportedly had Miya and Khaliah with women from outside his marriages.
He had four children with his second wife Belinda Boyd – Maryum, twins Jamillah and Rasheda, and Muhammad Ali Jr, while he adopted Asaad with Lonnie in 1991.
His family are now focused on continuing his passion for helping people.
I promised my dad on the day he died, ‘We will carry on your legacy for loving and giving. That’s what’s important to us right now.
Rest in peace.